There is such a thing as "too much". Yet many of us have moved the tolerance dial to uploading more and more information at lightening speed with a click, a swipe, a Siri command; one more Instagram, one more like on social media, or even one more podcast or "free-audible" to listen to. After all, we are a society that thrives on doing more and more equals success to many. Though that may be true for a small percentage of the population, the rest of us are falling into a spiral of over 40,000 plus emails unread, 25 unnecessary recurring text reminders, or even up to 70 subscription or notification alerts pinging or interrupting your ability to stay focused, that you no longer need or want to keep receiving but haven't made the time or taken the time to "unsubscribe to" a priority. So you may be asking or thinking, "What's the big deal?"
The Big Deal is All of these Visual Stimuli are "pervasive parasites" to our energy reserves. Yes, you heard me right, all the stuff you see and even hear starts to accumulate underneath the surface and continually sets off your vagus nerve to send signals that trigger a cascade of chemicals to be released that increases our anxiety over time while simultaneously decreasing our motivation to succeed thereby creating a sensation of "never getting out of the hole or being able to catch up even though you may feel uneasy about the looming quantity of notices rising in the background. This internal emotional reaction of feeling overwhelmed/overloaded, by "un-dealt with" tasks, will deplete your energy (mentally and emotionally.
This is a similar phenomenon to what happens when we are surrounded by physical clutter, it steals our available energy because our eyes once they see it can not "un-see" and send all visual stimuli to the brain where the images become embedded as either explicit or implicit memories that are stored in our biggest computer system---our brain. You might have heard of the saying," Cluttered space, cluttered mind."The same is true for any visual glance that includes scrolling, clicking, swiping, and browsing as well as images that keep a tally of the number of unread messages in bold located already "conveniently" located in the upper right-hand corner for some of us! Did you know that when our eyes have to look up and right, it activates the part of our brain that is used to future unscripted thoughts and one of the first things you see is what you have waiting for you still--makes me want to run and avoid too or go for that sugar fix as I feel my anxiety creeping back up! We are not Super Humans who have unlimited memory cards as part of our genetic genome, though I believe we still have not yet tapped into accessing our brain's potential and capacity fully; we live life from a place of FOMA; "Fear Of Missing Out", and keep saying yes to more and more subscriptions, alerts, notices, signing up for one more course, invites, projects, etc., and so it begins just like that.
Ok, so are you ready to seize back some of that energy that's been siphoned off these past few months or even years? This is my favorite part of the What You Can Do to interrupt the pattern now that you are more aware. We will begin looking at how to optimize Brain Tips.
The Set Up for Brain Tips...
Schedule a 4-6 hour block of time with 10-minute get up and stretch etc. breaks, where you can do this one major commitment time task to be able to maintain later in only 15 minutes daily. Have your playlist on cycle for this amount of time to keep your amygdala from being hijacked while working on the task itself. Make sure you have healthy snacks and plenty of nourishing beverages such as water, coffee, tea, or even a delicious smoothie within reach and available. (See my Resource page on my website for over 50 different healthy and tasty smoothie recipes from Goodness Lover). Below are 3 steps that will help you re-organize what is coming into your field of vision, so you can regain your energy and your focus too.
Brain Tips: Let's Begin...
Identify your Important and Urgent as well as your Interests/Needs/and Wants. Once you've done so Move on to Step 2.
Set up your email folders with the headings: Important and Urgent, Important and Non-Urgent, and lastly Not Important yet Interested/Needed/Wanted. You can then set up subcategories to delineate important people that you will need to be in communication with no matter what. These are people like your spouse, children, teachers, doctors, bosses, etc. where there's a real sense of urgency, not your friends, customers, or clients as some of you might be "blurring" where the boundary limit is needed to be and thereby frequently responding to out of habit or deflecting to when avoiding more difficult tasks. (We will cover more about that in later issues)
Now are you sitting down? I'll wait for you to do this if you're not already doing so. Take a deep breath, and now start to delete all the Not Important, Non-urgent, and No longer Interested/Needed/ or Wanted. This should be self-explanatory by now. Be real with yourself and ask yourself how often you go back to old emails and text messages. Are you feeling triggered or saying to yourself, "Wait what if it's something I'll need in the future?". The time that you usually would do this is when you are questioning something that was said by you or the other person, most likely because you were already distracted and not fully present when paying attention. Another possibility is that you are triggered by feeling afraid about not having what you need within your control or possibly the thought of failure, and in some cases, the perceived consequence from a previous trauma is being activated, and not from being gaslighted; in which case you are actively working on piecing things together. More on this topic will be covered in the future. Then make a sub-folder for "May Need Just in Case". Remember You are in Control of What You Choose to Do and Not Do which leads to feeling "blogged down" and free from "Bloggy Brain".
The Take Away...
"It's not how much time we have in this world that matters, it's about what we choose to do with the time we are given, that matters most." (J.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Gandalf the Wise Wizard)
Yes, I'm a huge movie fan in my recharge time! Popcorn, please...
Remember if you'd like to hear more about a particular area of interest, please send me your topics. One of them may be chosen for the next upcoming issue...Stay Tuned!
Shauna Sottery, LMFT