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Our senses are bombarded every day — the coworker who wears a lot of perfume, bright white office lights, ­endless computer screens. “When you overload the senses, you overload the mind,” explains Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD, who explores seven types of rest in her book Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. “Your body and emotions will respond adversely.”

These are some signs of sensory overstimulation:

  • You’re jarred by loud sounds.
  • You dislike being hugged or touched.
  • Big, sensory events like concerts or fireworks are a misery.

To rest your senses, ­Dalton-Smith suggests taking the inputs one at a time. Start by considering something you do or encounter daily, like dealing with loud noise from street construction or staring at a computer screen for hours. Then iden­tify “restful alternatives to undo the effect of that specific constant stimulation.” This could be as simple as giving your eyes a break by looking out a window or taking a walk to escape the sound of construction.

You can also build some more deliberate sensory rest into your daily routine:

  • Commit to avoiding screens for the first and last hour of each day.
  • Get some noise-canceling headphones to wear at the office.
  • Take a daily or weekly walk in nature and listen to the birds.

Explore the 7 Types of Rest

If you’re feeling run-down, you might be deficient in one of the seven types of rest. Learn how you can also recharge your physical, mental, creative, social, spiritual, and emotional self at “The 7 Types of Rest,” from which this article was excerpted.

Jessie Sholl

Jessie Sholl is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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