Information Overload [Why You Suffer from It]

In short:

  • your brain struggles to make sense of everything you’ve sent its way
  • healthy human brain processes are designed to have a buffer time
  • simply by having an internet connection, you qualify as someone who could be overloaded with information
Stressed out man running hand through his hair.
Photo by geralt

We call it mental funk for short. We love to act as if we can put a pin on it and address it at an appropriate moment. 

I don’t need this while I’m trying to cook something for my family. 

I have to run these errands ASAP but I will replay this thought later. 

I’m just going to focus on getting through this presentation, I can’t have my head in the clouds. 

In some formula or another, these might have echoed in your head a number of times. But you never make time to deal with them as they come and then the rug they’ve been swept under has reached the size of a monstrosity looming over you, threatening to trap you underneath.

Trapped you already are. 

Thought distortion

Truth be told, the so-called widely known mental fog can be all degrees of terrifying depending on who you are as a person. 

If you’ve been in a funk for a while that’s most likely caused you to not think clearly which in turn has led to impeding you from putting out into the world the types of ideas you want to spread in the particular form you want them to be accessed by others. 

As a consequence of this mismatch, you find it difficult to be fully connected to the chain reactions your ideas have inevitably started as soon as they have been launched into the world. If you think about it, that’s a good thing, since you essentially end up not quite feeling the messages your brain cooked up while not in its top shape. The only condition is to have the luxury of a clear-headed perspective to acknowledge it. 

We’re not primitives

What exactly causes your mind to be clouded? A mixture of the top frameworks within which you’re operating on the regular – nutrition, psychology, lifestyle, and lastly, your own DNA. 

Chances are you wouldn’t be right in blaming any single one of them, instead, you should focus on problematic intersections that have turned south without you noticing it. 

These are complex systems, and that might be the problem. They need a lot of information to keep functioning. Or so we are relentlessly persuaded to think. It’d be easier if it’d be all about survival, as it used to be for humans as a species in the past. But that’s not the case anymore and because of it, we absorb information for many other purposes and single-handedly overwhelm ourselves. 

We’re at a point in history in which having advanced technology at the tip of our fingers constantly sets us on the edge of being at the receiving end of too much information that we don’t allow ourselves enough time and attention to properly process. 

Being in a mental funk is just that – your brain struggling to make sense of everything you’ve sent its way – too much, too sudden.

Don’t skip buffer time

Who’s guilty of watching videos on double the speed? And then in real life, you have to take calming breaths so that you don’t just snap at the person who’s taking forever to articulate a thought? 

Have they really just only uttered one damn sentence thus far? They’re missing the double speed feature and unfortunately a mute button too. They’re also missing a fair chance from you, the impatient consumer that has had their expectations regarding natural speech heavily distorted by how you choose to receive information usually and how you get it when it’s outside of your control.

It’s not a bad thing in itself to watch your videos at whatever speed you want, but it’ll make a difference in how you process the information if you are aware of what you’re doing to your brain i.e. decreasing the amount of time needed to process certain pieces of information. 

You’re creating an imbalance that will never signal how much damage it can cause right then and there, but subtly in time. 

As convenient as it would be, it’s not a sustainable model simply because healthy human brain processes are designed to have a buffer time, which is not by any means to be understood as a passive state. Quite on the contrary, hence its indispensability.

By simply having an internet connection, you qualify as someone who could be overloaded with information. It depends, of course, on your behaviors while browsing through the pages. And don’t immediately shame social media. Nobody really points fingers at the wasteful hours spent online shopping or at the inability to keep on track while researching a topic of interest. 

There’s something ironically defeating about the possibility of getting what we want with just a few clicks and yet still losing so much time with whatever task at hand. The fault is not with the technology, but rather in the misconstrued yet widely experienced sentiment that what the online medium offers is so immediate and valuable, when in fact we can survive just fine without having a clue about the he said, she said of characters with no substantial influence on our day-to-day.

We’ve done it lifetimes before.

Stream of consciousness

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