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I've found a probable cause for my stress levels and inability to sit still: sensory overload. Call it HSP or sensory processing or what you will -- to me it's just a difference/quirk -- but external stimuli in the form of sound, touch or motion sends me into a frenzy. Is it true INTJs encounter this often? Is it possibly tied to inferior Se? I'm the only one in my family with a proclivity for calm, methodical behavior. I certainly can't expect my spouse and kiddo to walk on eggshells all the time, though the former has made an effort at creating a calmer environment. So I'm hoping that you INTJs will be able to point me toward your favorite tools, techniques and resources.

Here are some of the triggers:

+ Fast, incessant vocalization (my son the extravert never stops talking)
+ Too much (currently unavoidable) physical touch
+ Environmental noise, either too much of it or very sudden
+ Objects/people constantly in motion

Bear in mind I don't have the freedom to step away every time I'm overstimulated; I'm on the hunt for tools that allow me to continue activities and be with other people for a period of time.
 
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I can relate. I have two kids, the older (a tween) is a talkative extrovert while the younger is much like myself. It is difficult to have enough energy to create optimal conditions as a single dad.

That said, whenever I manage to stick to it, vipassana (mindfulness) meditation helps. I also like gentle yoga, but I find it incredibly difficult to practice regularly. There is time in theory, but in reality ... it keeps not happening. The upside is, my job allows me to live anywhere, so I have picked a quiet village in Thailand with few external stressors and plenty of nature.

Generally keeping external stimuli down to a minimum helps. I find it interesting that stress makes it difficult for you to sit still... I find it exceedingly difficult to move at all. I do suffer from serious long-term stress though (burn-out).
 

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This is hard to do elegantly because of our tendency to process everything but the following works for me:
1. Practice fuzzy perception - this I describe as kind of zoning out but not totally. It's sort of like padding your environment or yourself against stimuli.
2. Lift weights - I find the endorphins and lactic acid a calming influence particularly when I am mentally keyed up.
3. Broaden your scope of perception - you're less likely to be disturbed by something you notice in the process of occurring. Once noted, invoke "1." above.
 

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I agree with the above advice, and I'd add that in my experience it helps to set something up in the environment to focus on and draw your attention away from the noise around you. Something mild and pleasant. I like scented candles for the purpose. If you have time to yourself, you could try listening to Rainy Mood in the background of whatever you're doing, which is like nature's white noise. Very soothing.
 
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I've found a probable cause for my stress levels and inability to sit still: sensory overload. Call it HSP or sensory processing or what you will -- to me it's just a difference/quirk -- but external stimuli in the form of sound, touch or motion sends me into a frenzy. Is it true INTJs encounter this often? Is it possibly tied to inferior Se? I'm the only one in my family with a proclivity for calm, methodical behavior. I certainly can't expect my spouse and kiddo to walk on eggshells all the time, though the former has made an effort at creating a calmer environment. So I'm hoping that you INTJs will be able to point me toward your favorite tools, techniques and resources.

Here are some of the triggers:

+ Fast, incessant vocalization (my son the extravert never stops talking)
+ Too much (currently unavoidable) physical touch
+ Environmental noise, either too much of it or very sudden
+ Objects/people constantly in motion

Bear in mind I don't have the freedom to step away every time I'm overstimulated; I'm on the hunt for tools that allow me to continue activities and be with other people for a period of time.
I'm the same way - I have issues with overstimulation and sensory input. I have not (until you said this) associated it with my personality type, but rather life situations. For example, we didn't find out I needed glasses until I was in 5th grade. By then I had keenly developed my auditory learning abilities. When I finally got glasses, I couldn't handle all the new visual sensory input. It was totally distracting because I was not used to it. I would get distracted by the design of my teacher's tie, or their shoes, or whatever. I had to remove my glasses so I could continue to rely on my ears to learn. I still get distracted by visual stimulation.

Additionally, for this reason (I thought) I am unable to concentrate with sound around me. I cannot sleep, study or work with a TV on, for example, because whenever there is sound my mind wants to process that sound and it pulls me away from my focus.

As a single mom working from home for the last 10 years, I have had my struggles with my very extroverted children not understanding the line between "mom" and "mom working." I totally laughed out loud when you said your son doesn't stop talking - neither does mine! Even though he is a teenager, he still has not learned to stop talking. Just this morning I was on a work call (which in my world is the equivalent of a meeting in a physical conference room) and he came over and just started talking. I always have my phone on mute for that reason because it is incredibly unprofessional to have an entire "room" of people hearing your son say, "Can I have a marshmallow, mom, can I? Mom, can I? Can I?" So I was a bit peeved this morning myself by those distractions.

I must find ways to "get away" from the noise. Even if I'm sitting in the next room and can still hear them, I have to physically move away from the sound at least a few feet. As far as physical touch, I'm with you on that. My son is a cuddle bear and constantly wants to hug, which I cannot handle. So we have a compromise and signals when it is okay to cling to me and when it is not, or when a quick hug is fine.

I don't have any perfect techniques other than withdrawing into my own focus/mind, which is what I do most often. I need down time/private time and space and I do NOT get it. So I make it, at least mentally, whenever I can.

I am sure this doesn't help except to say - I'm right there with ya!
 

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I have a trick that works very well for me when I feel overstimulated. I close my eyes and gently push the eye balls inwards. Always makes me feel better.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
This is hard to do elegantly because of our tendency to process everything but the following works for me:
1. Practice fuzzy perception - this I describe as kind of zoning out but not totally. It's sort of like padding your environment or yourself against stimuli.
2. Lift weights - I find the endorphins and lactic acid a calming influence particularly when I am mentally keyed up.
3. Broaden your scope of perception - you're less likely to be disturbed by something you notice in the process of occurring. Once noted, invoke "1." above.
Can we talk a bit more about 1 and 3? I could see this technique coming in handy when I'm writing.

Do you try to shut down thought proccesses and silence internal noise as well?

Broadening scope: does that mean looking around and noticing more specific things happening external to the bothersome sensation? Like if I hear someone coughing a lot, should I try to redirect to less unpleasant, simultaneously occuring sounds? Or what I'm touching or seeing?

Weight-lifting is actually the best idea here. I quit after an injury years ago and just forgot to restart after having a kid and moving. A gym membership could do wonders for this.

Also, @Exquisitor, I listened today for about an hour! Sitting outside with candles and crickets right now, following your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I can relate. I have two kids, the older (a tween) is a talkative extrovert while the younger is much like myself. It is difficult to have enough energy to create optimal conditions as a single dad.

That said, whenever I manage to stick to it, vipassana (mindfulness) meditation helps. I also like gentle yoga, but I find it incredibly difficult to practice regularly. There is time in theory, but in reality ... it keeps not happening. The upside is, my job allows me to live anywhere, so I have picked a quiet village in Thailand with few external stressors and plenty of nature.

Generally keeping external stimuli down to a minimum helps. I find it interesting that stress makes it difficult for you to sit still... I find it exceedingly difficult to move at all. I do suffer from serious long-term stress though (burn-out).
Mindfulness, thank you. (Launching self-directed research...) It does make me restless in an aimless way. I can't sit still to focus on a task in front of me and the end result is pacing holes in the rug. Unproductive, stress-inducing cycle of madness.

We just moved to the country. The ISTP and I agreed that city life wasn't for us, and having almost a half acre in a small town means I get nature sounds again. There's great solace in being surrounded by trees and a creek and leaving everything else behind at the end of the day.
 
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Mindfulness, thank you. (Launching self-directed research...) It does make me restless in an aimless way. I can't sit still to focus on a task in front of me and the end result is pacing holes in the rug. Unproductive, stress-inducing cycle of madness.

We just moved to the country. The ISTP and I agreed that city life wasn't for us, and having almost a half acre in a small town means I get nature sounds again. There's great solace in being surrounded by trees and a creek and leaving everything else behind at the end of the day.
Your posts are always a joy to read with robust maturity and a healthy outlook on life. Exercise and mindfulness meditation are wonderful tools. Sam Harris' Waking Up is a good secular introduction to mindfulness.

 
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Discussion Starter #10
I must find ways to "get away" from the noise. Even if I'm sitting in the next room and can still hear them, I have to physically move away from the sound at least a few feet. As far as physical touch, I'm with you on that. My son is a cuddle bear and constantly wants to hug, which I cannot handle. So we have a compromise and signals when it is okay to cling to me and when it is not, or when a quick hug is fine.

I don't have any perfect techniques other than withdrawing into my own focus/mind, which is what I do most often. I need down time/private time and space and I do NOT get it. So I make it, at least mentally, whenever I can.

I am sure this doesn't help except to say - I'm right there with ya!
Hah! Commiseration is valid help given the context. Sometimes, it's just too much. (It. All of it.) There seem to be a lot of single parents on here. It's impressive hearing your challenges and adaptations. How has the hug signaling gone over, honestly? I'm trying to raise a fairly well-adjusted kid and his constant push for physical interaction is something I cope with moment-by-moment. The differences there can make or break a day.

@Antiloop -- I wasn't sure what to do with your post but, well, try. It actually worked... I use pressure points around my eyes for tension headaches so it must be the same mechanism. Bravo.

@dekkr372 -- Many would disagree, so I take both the compliments and inevitable criticisms lightly. Maturity can crumble in a moment's haste. Thank you for the video as well.
 

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1. Practice fuzzy perception - this I describe as kind of zoning out but not totally. It's sort of like padding your environment or yourself against stimuli.
I do this almost reflexively when I'm over stimulated. You're right, it's like half zoning out. Sometimes it happens because I'm focused on a thought internally. But when I'm overstimulated, it's almost like my brain says "Nope" and just starts turning down external stimuli.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I do this almost reflexively when I'm over stimulated. You're right, it's like half zoning out. Sometimes it happens because I'm focused on a thought internally. But when I'm overstimulated, it's almost like my brain says "Nope" and just starts turning down external stimuli.
Where's the volume button on my brain? Sounds like I need to update my hardware.
 

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Where's the volume button on my brain? Sounds like I need to update my hardware.
My hardware apparently also needs updating!

I wake up way earlier than my two children. I purposely start work early so that I can have a few hours with absolute silence in the house. Because life isn't complicated enough, my son also "works from home"; he only goes into a school building two hours a week and when he has robotics meetings. So getting up early when they are still sleeping is the only way to preserve my sanity.

Also, as far as signals for hugging that took a lot of time. How old is your son? It was so much more difficult when my son was young. My daughter was never a hugger, even as a baby she would push me away. Never had an issue with her. He was a different story. It is really hard to find a balance between "If I'm hugged one more time I may lose my mind" and the child's need for physical comfort. I allowed way more physical touch with him when he was small than now, of course, because of his age. But I taught him to read my face first - if mom has an "eleven" on her face, not a good time for a hug (those are the two lines that appear between my brows when I'm concentrating on something). Or when he would hug me, I made a game out of "timing it" - I'd say "okay and hug 1 - 2 - 3 -4 - 5 and break!" and then that would be the end of the hug. Sometimes I would just have to let him curl up in my lap and I needed to set aside anything I was working on because I knew he needed it.

I feel bad for him, especially since his sister doesn't like to be touched at all. His instinct when someone is sick or sad is to come over and give a big hug and of course our instinct in that same circumstance is "leave me alone." His sister will push him away and say, "Don't TOUCH me!" which of course hurts his feelings.

It took time, but he learned fairly young to look for the eleven on my face, or to read if my face was open for a little clinginess. He would do the count himself when we hugged and would break away at 5. Sometimes, though, he just couldn't and sometimes neither could I. It is really tough having that difference when the mom isn't so touchy feely and the child is. Makes me feel like such a bad mom sometimes.
 

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CroolUniqorn said:
Can we talk a bit more about 1 and 3?
Sure. @TrippedOnReality seems to understand what I mean. You don't zone out completely but sort of accept the stimulus on a deflected angle. Below is a great example from my past: I was babysitting my infant niece while trying to get a report completed and she began the most obnoxious wailing. It was amazingly stressful and enough to send anyone off the rails having to complete work with the crying in the background so I took a moment away from my work and a deep breath, sat for approximately 30 seconds, listening attentively to the amazingly poignant sound of suffering and began to contemplate how intelligent nature was to design such an exquisitely annoying sound. I pondered, how else was this innocent creature to communicate her needs and I began to respect nature instead of dwelling on how this little rugrat was seriously messing me up. For anyone who has heard this sound directed at you, I think you will agree there is precious little more compelling than hearing it and that is what I focused on. Once I understood and respected the source, I finished a report segment, held it lightly in my mind by repeating it to myself and went to see what my niece wanted. I picked her up and had a sniff to see if she was soiled or wet and that wasn't the problem. I began to walk her around the room but she was still fidgety and crying so I held her closely and began patting her gently on the back. It only took a few minutes of this to bring about a burp much louder than the small body it came from. After that burp, a near magical silence! By accident, I learned both a valuable lesson about handling infants and handling my environmental stresses. That anecdote should give you the gist of 1. on the list. To understand 3., you need to understand sensory impact. When looking at a visual stimuli, your focus is adjustable. A good example of this in practice is the "third eye" artwork (stereograms). When you open your area of focus, the thing that is annoying you is temporarily diluted by the other stimuli brought into the frame of reference. That little window of defection is often the difference between a measured and effective response as opposed to one you may later regret. Admittedly, this is a discipline and it does take practice to become an effective tool but it works pretty well for me.
 

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I don't know that I have any advice, but I can relate. My oldest son has ADHD and is alway talking, sometimes jumping while talking.
When the kids are all having meltdowns and crying, I just want to shut down. Sometimes I close my eyes and cover my ears. I've always felt silly for feeling overloaded so easily.
 

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My hardware apparently also needs updating!

I wake up way earlier than my two children. I purposely start work early so that I can have a few hours with absolute silence in the house. Because life isn't complicated enough, my son also "works from home"; he only goes into a school building two hours a week and when he has robotics meetings. So getting up early when they are still sleeping is the only way to preserve my sanity.

Also, as far as signals for hugging that took a lot of time. How old is your son? It was so much more difficult when my son was young. My daughter was never a hugger, even as a baby she would push me away. Never had an issue with her. He was a different story. It is really hard to find a balance between "If I'm hugged one more time I may lose my mind" and the child's need for physical comfort. I allowed way more physical touch with him when he was small than now, of course, because of his age. But I taught him to read my face first - if mom has an "eleven" on her face, not a good time for a hug (those are the two lines that appear between my brows when I'm concentrating on something). Or when he would hug me, I made a game out of "timing it" - I'd say "okay and hug 1 - 2 - 3 -4 - 5 and break!" and then that would be the end of the hug. Sometimes I would just have to let him curl up in my lap and I needed to set aside anything I was working on because I knew he needed it.

I feel bad for him, especially since his sister doesn't like to be touched at all. His instinct when someone is sick or sad is to come over and give a big hug and of course our instinct in that same circumstance is "leave me alone." His sister will push him away and say, "Don't TOUCH me!" which of course hurts his feelings.

It took time, but he learned fairly young to look for the eleven on my face, or to read if my face was open for a little clinginess. He would do the count himself when we hugged and would break away at 5. Sometimes, though, he just couldn't and sometimes neither could I. It is really tough having that difference when the mom isn't so touchy feely and the child is. Makes me feel like such a bad mom sometimes.
It's nice to know I'm not the only mother with touchy-feely issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sure. @TrippedOnReality seems to understand what I mean. You don't zone out completely but sort of accept the stimulus on a deflected angle. Below is a great example from my past: I was babysitting my infant niece while trying to get a report completed and she began the most obnoxious wailing. It was amazingly stressful and enough to send anyone off the rails having to complete work with the crying in the background so I took a moment away from my work and a deep breath, sat for approximately 30 seconds, listening attentively to the amazingly poignant sound of suffering and began to contemplate how intelligent nature was to design such an exquisitely annoying sound. I pondered, how else was this innocent creature to communicate her needs and I began to respect nature instead of dwelling on how this little rugrat was seriously messing me up. For anyone who has heard this sound directed at you, I think you will agree there is precious little more compelling than hearing it and that is what I focused on. Once I understood and respected the source, I finished a report segment, held it lightly in my mind by repeating it to myself and went to see what my niece wanted. I picked her up and had a sniff to see if she was soiled or wet and that wasn't the problem. I began to walk her around the room but she was still fidgety and crying so I held her closely and began patting her gently on the back. It only took a few minutes of this to bring about a burp much louder than the small body it came from. After that burp, a near magical silence! By accident, I learned both a valuable lesson about handling infants and handling my environmental stresses. That anecdote should give you the gist of 1. on the list. To understand 3., you need to understand sensory impact. When looking at a visual stimuli, your focus is adjustable. A good example of this in practice is the "third eye" artwork (stereograms). When you open your area of focus, the thing that is annoying you is temporarily diluted by the other stimuli brought into the frame of reference. That little window of defection is often the difference between a measured and effective response as opposed to one you may later regret. Admittedly, this is a discipline and it does take practice to become an effective tool but it works pretty well for me.
This was BY FAR the most helpful advice I have received on PerC. To the point I may put it on my fridge as a visual reminder of a new way to deal with the sounds that overwhelm me, stepping away, impersonalizing them, and simultaneously engaging them as an idea. It really puts the stimulus in its proper place. Today, for example, my son ( @ladyteacher he's preschool age and I'm hoping about ready to outgrow tantrums) screamed so long and so hard that it was a second-by-second resolve to keep my cool. I feel like I've made efforts at this in those moments, but lacked critical details to make it effective.

I can't thank you enough.

This will be the whole of my reply for now because my computer is currently inaccessible, as is my mind. Appreciate such diverse, educated answers.
 

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Sure. @TrippedOnReality seems to understand what I mean. You don't zone out completely but sort of accept the stimulus on a deflected angle. Below is a great example from my past: I was babysitting my infant niece while trying to get a report completed and she began the most obnoxious wailing. It was amazingly stressful and enough to send anyone off the rails having to complete work with the crying in the background so I took a moment away from my work and a deep breath, sat for approximately 30 seconds, listening attentively to the amazingly poignant sound of suffering and began to contemplate how intelligent nature was to design such an exquisitely annoying sound. I pondered, how else was this innocent creature to communicate her needs and I began to respect nature instead of dwelling on how this little rugrat was seriously messing me up. For anyone who has heard this sound directed at you, I think you will agree there is precious little more compelling than hearing it and that is what I focused on. Once I understood and respected the source, I finished a report segment, held it lightly in my mind by repeating it to myself and went to see what my niece wanted. I picked her up and had a sniff to see if she was soiled or wet and that wasn't the problem. I began to walk her around the room but she was still fidgety and crying so I held her closely and began patting her gently on the back. It only took a few minutes of this to bring about a burp much louder than the small body it came from. After that burp, a near magical silence! By accident, I learned both a valuable lesson about handling infants and handling my environmental stresses. That anecdote should give you the gist of 1. on the list. To understand 3., you need to understand sensory impact. When looking at a visual stimuli, your focus is adjustable. A good example of this in practice is the "third eye" artwork (stereograms). When you open your area of focus, the thing that is annoying you is temporarily diluted by the other stimuli brought into the frame of reference. That little window of defection is often the difference between a measured and effective response as opposed to one you may later regret. Admittedly, this is a discipline and it does take practice to become an effective tool but it works pretty well for me.
I find changing my perspective on things that are stressful/frustrating/annoying helps me cope with those situations better in general.
@CroolUniqorn I don't have kids, so I'm not sure how I personally would handle that situation. I think the partial zone out helps more when the over-stimulation source is more...ambient. I really enjoy going to concerts, but it can be pretty sapping with all the sounds, flashing lights, random people pressed against you, and ambient chatter. I find toward the end, usually I've partially shut down one or more of my senses. I don't know that it would work as well for me if I used it when people who required my attention were the source of over-stimulation (like my boss... :dry:).
 

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TrippedOnReality:21213170 said:
I do this almost reflexively when I'm over stimulated. You're right, it's like half zoning out. Sometimes it happens because I'm focused on a thought internally. But when I'm overstimulated, it's almost like my brain says "Nope" and just starts turning down external stimuli.
Yes! I'm the same way. This is usually when my ENTP mother would start snapping her fingers in a (fruitless) attempt to "get me back here". :)
 
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