Happy New Year all! We’ve made it through 2013, like there was any real question about that? hehehe…
My New Years Resolution, well, one of them anyway, is to squash information overload through mindfulness practice. I’ve found some great ways to do it, and I’ll be sharing them with you in this post.
We all seem to love information. It’s what our economy seems to be driven on these days, well, that, and debt, but I digress. We love information, we love the internet, facebook, Twitter, email, this blog you’re reading, etc… We revel in our information, or more bluntly, our internet addiction.
Information and Internet Addiction
However, how much information is too much? Are we addicted to information like a heroine addict craves their next fix? Do we have our eyes glued to our mobile devices when we should be paying attention to other, more important things? Does our internet addiction take us away from experiencing real life, and more importantly, the present moment?
I find that my addiction to new information, while great for writing on my blog here, totally distracts me when it comes time to meditate. I have a feeling that it can for you as well. I find that it is much more difficult to settle down for meditation and even just being able to use some mindfulness exercises after I’ve been surfing the net, or checking my facebook page, or Twitter feeds.
Therefore, I have started a wind down on the information I consume. It’s not easy, but I find that it makes for a more peaceful and productive life. Sure, I like to keep on top of current events, but not at the expense of the present moment.
When I settle down to practice meditation and mindfulness, I find that it helps to go through a relaxation routine. This is especially helpful after information overload. Relaxing the body though progressive muscle relaxation seems to work wonders for my mind.
I then find that I have a much easier time focusing and letting go of thoughts as they arise. It helps me interrupt the loops that my thoughts get into, especially after reading some horrible news story, or even just headlines.
Mindfulness and Information Overload
Not all information overload is bad though. I’ve found a silver lining in all of it. If I approach consuming information mindfully, it’s a whole other practice in itself. It takes some practice to become aware that I’m doing it, but once I get into the zone of consuming information, I make it a point to witness what I’m feeling as I’m reading the information. It’s very telling.
I also can understand on a deep level why I feel the urge to keep reading, and what interests me and why. This knowledge is amazing on many different levels. It’s like clay to work with and form a great sculpture out of. Each one of us has different patterns formed out of different life experiences that we can work with. We all have our filters.
How to Stop Information Overload Using Mindfulness
Here are a few good ways to stop information overload:
- Stop reading, and put down your phone (obvious)
- Picture your mind like a dry erase board, and visualize an eraser wiping it clean (useful when you first start to meditate)
- Learn to become aware of your thoughts and feelings while consuming information. Make a mental note of what it is doing to you, or how you are reacting to it. The first step in stoping a bad habit is to become aware that you have a bad habit. Ponder that.
- Take a walk and get your blood flowing. This seems to work well for me.
Above all else, take things in moderation, including moderation.