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Laura Van Schaick-Harman, Psy.D., BC-TMH


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Information Overload

Posted on September 30, 2020 at 4:30 PM

 

With social media, TV, apps, e-mail, news articles, and mail, we can easily become overloaded with information. If left unchecked, we could have the news running all day in the background or fall into a rabbit hole of social media “doomscrolling.” For a more detailed look at this new phrase, read the Merriam Webster definition and origin (http://https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/doomsurfing-doomscrolling-words-were-watching).

 

Headlines are designed to grab our attention and ignite an emotional reaction. They are written to try and convince us that we need to know more and read on or watch longer. When we keep engaging with the information, we may experience a reaction because we strongly agree or disagree. We may feel a strong sense of needing to know. We may start applying what we read or see to our own life. Before we know it, we are scrolling and scrolling or watching and watching and time for more meaningful activities is passing by.

 

Information overload can lead to increased anxiety and stress. Here are some strategies to help manage this.

 

Limit Exposure

 

Allow yourself a designated amount of time per day or week for consumption of current events.

 

 

Access Trusted Resources

 

Find a reputable resource for unbiased and accurate information.

 

 

Find the Primary Source

 

This one is difficult but helpful and important. As best you can, trace back reported information to the original source.

 

 

Read Alternative Viewpoints

 

Learn about different perspectives to help more fully understand a situation.

 

 

Focus on Information Seeking Not on Reassurance Seeking

 

There is a difference between learning new information to advance knowledge and compulsively seeking confirmation or disconfirmation for reassurance.

Categories: anxiety, meaningful living