From Overstimulated to Activated

When you consider how much information is around us, and how our brain functions to filter and prioritize all these things, it’s a wonder that we can get anything done. It takes an incredible amount of energy and focus to do something or learn something with excellence, consideration, and passion, and then of course to follow through on what’s been done or learned in some meaningful, valuable way. So often, we (or, at least people like me) feel pulled in a myriad of directions, only half-attentive, distracted, giving only a surface level thought to what we’ve read or seen or heard. If anyone out there is like me, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the volume of information pouring in from every direction. Predictably, technology is at the center of this overabundance of stimuli, coupled with a fast-paced social structure propelled by competition, and the subsequent shifting of our brains, our consciousness, our unconsciousness, constantly sorting through it all.

I read an article, The Consequences of Living in an Overstimulated Society (collective-evolution dot com). Ironically, on this page, surrounding the article about over-stimulation, you will find 3 social media links in two different locations, 1 email link, 7 advertisements with links, 6 menu links, and an intro and link to 3 more related articles. The page looked so dreadfully busy, I almost didn’t read the article. But, we have gotten accustomed to that, haven’t we? It wouldn’t look right, wouldn’t look legitimate, without all the links and buttons and bling.

The evidence that my mind splatters into multiple directions could be proven by what I’ve deliberately watched or looked up on the computer so far today, within a few hours (minus email and all of its splatterings, which I limit). And the reasons I looked at all this seem quite responsible and reasonable on the surface. That’s just the thing; it’s all on the surface, unless another step is taken.

This morning I listened to a lecture about sentence structure; read news about the hurricane; read advice about how often to clean your bath or shower (which led to how often to clean a whole buttload of things–thank you, Martha Stewart, for trying to replace my writing time with chores); read an article about Eliud Kipchoge’s new marathon world record at the Berlin Marathon; looked up how often the American Heart Association recommends eating fish (twice a week); read an article about a new MRI technology that will predict outcomes after cardiac arrest; looked up how much it cost to pressure wash a house; and finally, looked at a cooking club for kids with gift ideas in mind for my youngest. And then the article about overstimulation. Ha!

The only way to transform information from surface-level to value-added level is to do something—change a behavior, share the information, or take action. So, with that, I need to write better sentences, clean more often (ugh), donate to hurricane relief, eat fish twice a week, share the MRI article with patients or coworkers, schedule a pressure wash on our house, and sign Carolyn up for the cooking club. With these steps, my newest brain connections won’t be left idle at the surface, but will extend and enrich and enhance at deeper levels than before. Now, I just need time and money.

What about you, readers? Are you overwhelmed with stimulation? What’s the last thing you read or looked up? What are you going to do about it?

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