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How To Cope With Information Overload

Feb 4, 2008
Due to modern technology, we can now access information from around the world, twenty four hours a day. At any given time, we can contact friends and family wherever they happen to be and keep up with trends and ideas from all parts of the globe.

There is a downside, if we allow it to happen, and that is what we call information overload. I say if, because it really is up to the individual to decide how much information they need and what they want to do with it.

A major part of information overload is the fact that people stress about too many things that they have no control over. Take climate change or terrorism for instance, people are worried and frightened, taken to extreme this sort of stress can seriously damage the health.

So how can we overcome this problem on a personal level? The key is being able to filter information, retaining only that which is of a concern or interest to us. Just because information is available, it doesn't mean you have to take it all on board.

You also need to be very honest with yourself about how certain information affects you and what you are prepared to do about it. If you're upsetting your self about the starving children in Africa, but you are not doing anything about it, then it is a lose - lose situation. You're not doing your health any good, and the starving children don't benefit from your stress levels. This may sound brutal, but the fact is you must make a decision. Are you going to do something constructive, or are you going to file the information and stop worrying?

Not doing anything doesn't mean you don't have a social conscience or that you are uncaring. It simply means there is a situation that has nothing to do with you at this time.

Learn to manage your intake of information so that you've got some control over what you want to hear. For instance, I only listen to the news once a day, I watch a 30 minute news program on TV in the evenings, and that tells me pretty much all I want to know. If there is something that interests me, I will follow through on it, but generally, the headlines are enough for me.

The media have brainwashed us into believing that we have to know everything, and that we should also be the first to know, this simply isn't necessary. The only time you need to know is when information affects you or the circumstances around you. If you're travelling on the highway and an accident up ahead means delays, then information pertaining to it affects you. It may be possible to change your route or make alternative plans.

Filtering information means you sort the information in order of importance. This also means you are best able to retain the facts you need. When you allow your mind to accept all of the information that comes in, you clog up the system. Imagine if you allowed your desk to overflow with paperwork, bills and files all mixed up with junk mail. How hard does that make it to find a telephone number that's buried somewhere in the pile?

Get into the habit of discarding information that isn't relevant. This means you're not causing yourself unnecessary worry. It might be difficult at first but you can train yourself to do it with practice. It is also a good idea not to soak up too much negative information, especially if you're prone to anxiety and stress over certain subjects.

Turn the information age into a positive thing by making it work for you. Take the best of it to enrich your life and learn to be in control, so that you don't get information overload.
About the Author
Having recovered from breast cancer, Trish turned her attention to the health and wellness industry. Trish became a Life Coach and specializes in the wellness and lifestyle fields. Her web site at http://www.wellbeing-information.com is full of useful advice and tips on how to improve your life.
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