Information overload

It's so easy to be continuously informed about what's happening in the world. Newspapers, computers, tablets, telephones and television bombard us with huge quantities of information every day. Digital communication and social media add to this and increase our desire to engage with others, often because we feel we may be missing out if we don’t. Time on Facebook and Twitter can be great and make you feel connected. However, some people lose track of time on social media and spend increasingly long hours staring at other people’s lives online.

What is stress from information overload?

Dealing with the vast volume of information available to us is one of the greatest challenges of our day. We receive information constantly. When we are off line we worry that we are missing out, so we don’t turn our phones or our computers off. It is very common for people of all ages to experience information overload.

Informational stress is the result of information overload. Your brain receives so many stimuli that it can't process it all. It then becomes difficult to distinguish between what is important and what's not. Informational stress can result in fatigue, problems concentrating, and sleeping problems. It is a growing concern in modern society, so it is worth developing coping strategies to avoid stress-related health problems.

Tips for helping you cope with informational stress

The quantity of information coming our way is only increasing. The trick is to deal with it more intelligently. These tips can help.
  • Distinguish between "need to know" and "nice to know". Protect yourself against this latter category by opting out of unnecessary information sources and searching for what you need instead.
  • At work, step away from your computer once in a while. Go and get something to drink or go and talk to a colleague instead of sending an e-mail. The fewer mails you yourself send, the fewer mails you will receive .
  • The best way to gather information is still from people. A five-minute conversation generally provides you with more useful information than five hours of research online.
  • The quantity of information is growing continuously. Blogs, vlogs, mails, messaging, letters, newsletters and articles just keep streaming in. Stop being a passive receiver and ask yourself how you can find information if you need it.
  • Search for clever ways, so-called ‘lifehacks’, to make your life more efficient, productive and easy.
  • Go on a digital detox now and again: turn your computer and telephone off and go for a walk to clear your head.
  • Do yoga exercises and breathing exercises. These help your mind and body process stress and relax.
  • Drink herbal tea with chamomile, mint or lemon balm to calm your nerves.
  • Trouble sleeping? Ban technology from your bedroom. Turn off all gadgets, including your phone at least an hour before going to bed. Drink a glass of warm milk or take a warm bath before going to bed. You really need your sleep to rest your brain and recover from all of the impressions made by the information you’ve been exposed to.

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