3 Simple Affirmations to Calm Overwhelm As A Neurodivergent Person

Restful Life
4 min read

As a neurodivergent person, the danger of becoming overwhelmed is a near-daily occurrence.

We live in an ableist society that rarely accommodates disabilities or divergence. So emotional, physical and mental stimuli can all lead to overwhelm.

Neurodivergent overwhelm can come in many forms. For example:

  • masking or suppressing your natural traits is exhausting
  • sensory sensitivities mean that temperature, pain, emotions, and thoughts can take longer to process
  • uncomfortable clothing & and loud noises can feel painful
  • having to sit still for long periods can be draining

Being neurodivergent means you need to take care of yourself. And be able to regularly calm your nervous system. Otherwise, you run the risk of intense emotional overload or ‘flooding’.

What is emotional ‘flooding’?

Everyone is different, but you might recognise these symptoms.

Emotional overwhelm or flooding can look like:

  • A rush of overwhelming or conflicting emotions
  • Sobbing uncontrollably
  • Feeling completely numb or shut-down
  • Dissociation (the sensation of not being quite here in reality)
  • Trouble focusing or racing thoughts
  • A panic attack
  • Difficulty verbalising what you’re thinking & feeling

Are Highly Sensitive People neurodivergent?

Person wearing a cream sweater & white nail polish holds a white blanket over their face

We believe so. The word ‘neurodivergent’ was coined by Kassiane Asasumasu as a radically inclusive term. It is a political and social justice term.

Which means that if you identify as neurodivergent, you are.

Neurodivergence & the neurodiversity paradigm means that it is natural for people’s brains to work differently. And Highly Sensitive People diverge from “typical” sensory processing.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges associated with neurodivergence.

However, neurodiversity offers a new way of looking at the world. It reminds us different is acceptable. Rather than declaring one type of brain as “healthy and normal”. Or believing that difference is “disordered and dysfunctional”.

Neurodiversity offers a way to accommodate people’s needs without trying to fix, change or cure them.

In fact, we believe that Highly Sensitive People are proof that the world can accept a divergent brain without pathology.

What triggers neurodivergent overwhelm?

Anything processed by the nervous system has the potential to be overwhelming. Stimuli can be both internal or external, like:

  • Temperature (too hot or too cold)
  • Intense emotions (both positive or negative)
  • Hunger
  • Caffeine
  • Crowds
  • Loud noises and conflicting sounds
  • Overlapping conversations
  • Obsessive thoughts and decisions
  • Not being able to move or stim
  • Pleasure
  • Pain

When your nervous system is well-regulated, it’s easier to cope with any stimulus. However, the more dysregulated your system or the more stress increases? The easier it is to become overwhelmed.

Apart from regular restful self-care, affirmations can help to calm feelings of overwhelm in the moment. These are simple phrases you can repeat silently to yourself. So you can sit with the tension of difficult emotions and situations a bit more easily.

And that’s what builds resilience. Which is one of the biggest keys to living a deep and meaningful life. So without further ado, here are:

3 Affirmations to Help Calm Neurodivergent Overwhelm

Woman with light brown hair and eyes closed. Some of her hair is blowing across her face

“I focus on my exhale”

When you lengthen your exhale, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This helps calm you down.

A simple way to do this is to exhale for twice as long as you inhale.

So, inhale for a count of 2 and exhale for a count of 4.

Animation of circle inhaling for a count of 2 and exhaling for a count of 4

Or you could simply extend your exhale. There’s no need to keep count.

Just take a big breath in, puff out your cheeks, and slowly exhale. As you breathe out, notice your muscles begin to relax and release tension.

You can repeat these breathing techniques for as long as you need.

“I can feel my feet”

Interoception is the awareness of your physical sensations. It’s a mind-body connection that helps you understand your bodily signals.

And increasing interoceptive awareness can be really helpful in self-regulation. Which in turn helps decrease overwhelm.

When you can feel your feet, you’re quickly transported back into your body. And when you can sense your body more easily, you tend to feel more grounded.

Adding a little toe wiggle can help anchor this sensation even more.

“This feeling is temporary”

Being neurodivergent is challenging. It’s okay to acknowledge that.

But feelings of overwhelm are only ever temporary.

Thoughts, sensations, and emotions flow through you all the time. And they often change as your environment changes.

So whatever is happening in the moment, no matter how overwhelming? Will pass in time.


It can be exhausting being a neurodivergent person in a world that rarely accommodates you. So calming your neurodivergent overwhelm is vital.

By focusing on your exhale, feeling your feet and reminding yourself feelings are temporary?

You might just find the world a little less overwhelming for you.

Never forget - you belong here as much as anyone else.

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