In today’s world, it is increasingly common to feel saturated, without the ability to go deeper. We immerse ourselves in nothing, we feel superficial due to the large amount of information and stimuli that we constantly receive .
This information overload leads to a feeling of “head clutter” or internal disorder. This adds up to a large number of tasks to do, many options to consider, and (digital) overstimulation that generally increases at uncontrollable rates.
This saturation can make us feel unable to process or select important information. This has been shown to negatively affect mental health, our relationships, and emotional well-being.
To manage information effectively, it is essential to take into account our way of being. That is, individual personality differences. Our decision making, tolerance to varied stimuli, anxiety management, and priority setting are all affected by personality.
For example, the personality trait “anxiety” can make one easily overwhelmed by excessive information. This causes high stress levels and hampers decision-making skills.
On the other hand, perfectionists may struggle with the urge to analyze every aspect of every detail presented, causing even more mental saturation. There are also people who have a greater ability to tolerate ambiguity or who are more relaxed and may be more adept at managing information overload.
A negative effect
Regardless of how each of us is, continually exposing ourselves to stressful situations has a negative impact on us. These demanding situations affect our ability to think, feel, feel, and process the information around us.
This causes difficulty concentrating and the need for more stimuli, as if it were a drug. The ability to concentrate is crucial for making sound decisions and successfully completing tasks. Mental saturation affects this ability, as it makes us feel constantly distracted and unable to focus on a single task .
Rejection, failure, and stressful situations also influence how people deal with situations. This creates a feeling of pressure that can lead to an even greater increase in anxiety and stress levels, especially in people with a pre-existing mental disorder .
What can we do?
The good news is that we can act and reverse this uncontrolled situation that keeps us on constant alert. For example, being aware of the thousands of stimuli we receive every day will make us stop for a few seconds. It is important to pay attention to the importance of stopping , to improve information processing, memory and thinking in general.
It is in our hands to make a conscious selection of the information that does not add value and limit exposure to social networks. In the same way, it can also help to take time to disconnect and practice relaxation techniques. For example, carrying out activities that allow us to distract ourselves, such as doing manual work.
We can crochet, paint, read or simply contemplate a bird, a tree, a river, the sea or simply observe a flower or go fishing. It is not necessary to be a great artist or a good musician. Any task that requires distracting the mind from daily problems can be incorporated as long as we stop consciously, and we can do Art Therapy with anything .
Where can this lead us? And if for a moment we are ourselves? If we release so many stimuli, could we perceive our day to day differently? What could happen to us? Probably only positive responses will emerge .
The importance of stopping
It is very important to be aware of the importance of stopping and disconnecting without having to make long trips or outings. The tools that we have within our reach can be found anywhere and when work or family reconciliation allow us. We must take time for ourselves and stop.
Let’s not judge how we feel, or how things are going for us. Let’s not avoid grieving or stop being angry if that’s what we experience. No need to feel guilty for not being 100% happy the Instagram way. Maybe we could forget Twitter for a while or LinkedIn for a few moments.
Let’s not make decisions even for a moment, for a day, for a few hours, a few minutes. In this sense, the holidays are a good excuse to start practicing it. Let’s just let time pass with something that makes us heal. Pausing is crucial to maintaining a healthy and balanced mind.
Author Bios: David Gallardo-Pujol is Associate Professor of Individual Differences and Personality, Laura Viñals Vila is Research Coordinator of the IDLab-UB and Macia Buades Rotger is a Lecturer Professor (equivalent to PhD Assistant) in Psychology specialized in cognitive, affective, and social neuroscience all at the University of Barcelona