Updated: Jun 25, 2020
Are you feeling information overload these days? Chances are, if you have a smartphone, you are.
Whether its facebook, instagram, twitter, text, email or the news alerts on your phone, those little pings are constantly vying for our attention. Then, once you open the app, HOLD ON.
A fire hydrant’s worth of information is coming at you, on any number of random topics. If not ready to consume this content mindfully, it can leave you reeling. So here are some gentle reminders on how information consumption can be disempowering or empowering:
What toxic Information Consumption can look/feel like:
Mindless - scrolling but not sure why you are, how long you have been, etc.
Triggering - you start to feel toxic emotions welling up inside you (comparison, shame, guilt, lack, fear, jealousy, dread, hopelessness)
Addictive - your first scroll of the day didn’t leave you feeling that great but somehow, you’re back on your phone, scrolling again not long after.
What conscious information consumption can look/like:
Mindful: Be aware of your emotional vibration before engaging with any of these information sources. Do a mental health check by asking yourself these things: How am I feeling? Why am I going on here? How long will I be on here? If I start to feel _____, I will close this down and spend 1 minute in quiet gratitude to refocus my energy…I am responsible for how I feel and I will not give this power away to arbitrary information.
Manage Alerts: Ask yourself what actually requires a sound or visual notification in your life. Assess how many times your day is interrupted by notifications and if it is necessary. In a recent podcast, Robin Sharma cited some new data that states the ping notifications on our phones carry the same neurological disruption capability as a human scream.
How many screams are interrupting your day?
“Lets stop treating each other like machines. It is okay if someone does not immediately respond to your email. Do not expect quick replies to every text message. The internet and social media have sharply increased the demands on your personal energy. Be a human and take your time.”
Knowledge is powerful and I am the first person to agree that informing and educating ourselves should be a life long effort and a fundamental part of personal growth & responsible life management. However, the way in which we receive and consume information these days is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced as humans before.
Even on some of the super important topics being discussed these days, real, sustainable action and change comes from sustainable emotions that fuel that change. If the information we consume triggers us to feel sad, hopeless, ashamed, lacking, etc… well, I just feel sad looking at a future where our actions spring forth from that emotional space.
But if we can consume information mindfully, from a mental space that understands real change is to think greater than our environment, therein lies the difference.
To do anything productive with the information we consume, we have to be able to sift through it, and then act on it from elevated emotions and empowered resolve. That means even if the news is hard to read and triggers sadness/fear/despair, we need to sit with the content, remind ourselves why change will be so GOOD and take action from the empowered feelings of hope, optimism, and joy for a future that can be better and different.
And all of that begins with the lens through which we inform ourselves and the emotional space from which we process that information.
Be a human, not a machine when it comes to information consumption this week. Respect your innate humanity and consume information in a way that is edifying not draining. So much good and possibility lies on the other side of making this conscious choice.