In a world of unlimited information at our fingertips, we should be the able to make informed decisions at a drop of a hat. We are able to google anything and learn all we ever wanted (or never wanted) to know about anything or anybody. We can wiki this and google that - cnn, facebook, huffpost, foxnews, tweet, blog and bing our way through the questions of the day.
So why is it that we often find ourselves confused and filled with a powerless sense of ever-present anxiety?
Well, new research points to the fact that as the information load increases so does activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This is the area of the brain where decisions are made - and also the area that controls our emotions. And at a certain point, as information keeps streaming in, this area gets overloaded. When inundated with a steady stream of information, the activity in the DP Cortex suddenly drops! This means that our emotions are no longer in check. As information keeps streaming in, so do feelings of worry and doubt. The research also found that along with the increased level of anxiety, our ability to make decisions disappears or gets reduced significantly. As a result we cannot make up our minds or make decisions. Instead of being level headed and clear minded, we get irritated and feel like we are in a fog of confusion. We might feel overwhelmed and just want to escape. So here we are: Highly emotionally charged people incapable of making an independent choice!
We, the people of the internet age, have become people unable to make up our minds and therefore desperately clinging to what we thought we knew!
Of course it is great to have a tool like the internet at our disposal! Doing research is infinitely easier and more convenient. It can help us gather information and make informed choices. However research shows that there is a reason to be aware that too much information or rather too much ongoing and constant information can create a sense of paralysis of our decision making abilities.
So if you find that you too are hooked on the constant stream of information, and feel a bit powerless at the complexity of it all, just know that you might benefit from slowing down once in a while and smell something other than the electronics!
Out there on the other side of our screens something real is taking place. Something that might help make it easier for us to make up our minds and clear the sense of helplessness. Something that might help us connect to our own authenticity! I know that a visit to nature outside in quiet contemplation or a few yoga poses do more to aid my wellbeing than any google search on 'wellness'. Could it be that I might be able to make up my mind about all those things on my lists if, after doing thorough research, I stop the flow of information and simply look into my heart and soul for the answers?
I'm going to give it a try! Please consider joining me in getting away from the information barrage of TV and internet a little bit more than you otherwise would each day... let's take small unscheduled trips outside, take a few extra deep breaths, feel the air around us, the ground below us. Let us grab the opportunity to let go of the constant chatter. And maybe right there in the stillness around us are the answers we were looking for all along.