Is the Information Technology Age a gift or burden? It’s up to you. Sensory overload is not the Digital Age’s Fault.
Last weekend, I lost my iphone in the Shenandoah Mountains. Although I value it tremendously and even rely on it, after getting over the initial annoyance, I felt a sense of peace. Just before losing it, I recall smiling and showing my friend the “out of service” signal. Many of us can relate to feeling as though being inaccessible and not being able to subject ourselves to sensory overload is a rare luxury. (For the record: I love being contacted by clients and family/friends, so that is not the message here. I’ll never get too much email in those categories.)
This hot topic is on the hearts and minds of most people with smart phones, internet/email heavy jobs, and active social media accounts. First, we’ll examine it as the gift. Second, we will examine it as a burden. Third, we will talk about how to convert it from a burden to a gift when we suffer from information and accessibility overload and then maintain the gift.
Information Technology Age (“Digital Age”) Is a Tremendous Gift:
Provides many time-saving and other conveniences: So much can be done with a push of a button. I’m sure you can add to this list: Restaurants and other vendors as well as their quality, availability, and location; online payment and form completion; travel ease; music; exercise and mileage applications; scheduling; telecommuting; time-tracking; easy parking meters; relaxation recordings; banking; and so on. So much is automated.
Educates Us: Knowledge is no longer only for the elite. The Internet is rich with how to do many things, answers to all kinds of questions, and expert advice. We also learn about current events as they are happening.
Connects and Unites Us: The sadness of moving away from loved ones is lessened with the inventions of SKYPE, cell phones, emails, and Facebook. Reconnect with old friends. Social media, Internet, and email make it easy for business, nonprofit, and personal connections to be created across the globe. Good businesses and other organizations can be rewarded with positive reviews; more knowledgeable consumers.
The Digital Age Is a Burden:
Headaches and Exhaustion: Sitting in front of the computer receiving as much information as we do with emails, general Internet, social media, and, oh, yeah, work unrelated to this: It can give us a headache and make us tired. Sensory perception overload, TMI, and lack of focus surface. (Learn Wayne Cook Posture below.)
Overwhelm: With so much coming at us at one time, it can be hard to enjoy the present moment and know where to focus. We may feel like we have to do many things at one time since so many things are happening in that moment. Many things may be attractive-too many seemingly good choices.
Time-Wasted: There’s an art to multi-tasking in order for it to be efficient. Sometimes when we try to do too many things at once, we get nothing done.
- Is your auto-pilot program to constantly check email and social media? How’s your impulse to respond right away? Does every comment or request feel like an emergency?
- Topics that aren’t really that interesting or important to you catch your attention?
- Business-owners: constantly checking web stats?
Confusion: With regard to the news, what is the truth? Everyone has their own set of statistics, stories, and evidence these days for where we should turn our focus politically and otherwise. Sensationalism and framing often permeate the news, which can get our adrenaline pumping and affect our reactions and decisions. It can feel confusing.
No more privacy: So much gets revealed. In my FB feed today was a photo of a restaurant receipt signed by a well-known quarterback. Rather than leaving a tip, he wrote some unkind words. Not sure if this was an authentic receipt, and I have no judgment about it. But, it very well could be real, as it takes less than 1 minute to take a photo of something and upload it to FB. We live in a fish bowl.
Convert the Digital Age from a Burden to a Gift By Shifting Your Limiting Beliefs
Why are we saying we don’t have enough time when we are clearly doing so many things almost instantly by pushing a button? Time-wasting was covered in one of my blogs last summer. To create more awareness of how I was spending time, I tracked my time with an iphone application. Every time I texted, emailed, or checked personal or business social media or web stats, I had to switch the timer. This made me stop doing it so impulsively. Electronic-monkey mind: shut down (ironically with the use of an electronic application). But, then, how much time was I spending tracking my time? This doesn’t work for everyone. Let’s examine further.
- I learned that I was more productive than I had thought and that my expectations for what I should be accomplishing in a day were often too high.
- Our expectations of what we should be producing are often at the same instantaneous rate that the Digital Age affords. This is problematic because:
-As humans we can’t always do everything in one moment.
-We can’t really experience everything in one “now” moment anyway, so it seems illogical that we would need to have everything “now.” We don’t need everything done now. We have lots of “now” moments, so it’s important to divide our work and activities over time.
- Become more conscious of what can be done instantly through technology and what needs to be slow-cooked: meaning, certain events, thoughts, or people need to be included. Time is still an important ingredient for success.
Self-Worth: A Bridgenosis® blog would not be complete without the mention of self-limiting beliefs. Recently, a client came to me with a Facebook addiction: She was constantly checking it even though she didn’t really want to be. It was rooted in a deep sense of wanting to belong and be included or connected with others.
- Most of us have this desire, for two reasons:
- Need to belong is rooted in our deeply ingrained and outdated survival instincts (ie. living in groups was once key to survival in cave times); Subconscious associates this need to belong with FB since it is essentially a social community.
- Our innate desire is to be connected at the heart level.
- Our subconscious/auto-pilot/monkey minds will create associations and play programs until they are told not to do so. In this case, her mind needed to know:
-Moderately checking FB won’t interfere with one’s ability to survive. In fact, it may help one to survive because a person won’t constantly be distracted. Not to mention that being connected on FB isn’t needed for survival.
-Love has no condition other than the fact that it can only truly be found from within. It’s from this place that we can connect heart to heart with others. Although FB provides a great platform for us to connect authentically (or not) with each other, it’s not a requirement for feeling love or for connecting with others. Indeed, sometimes we get so focused on what others are doing or thinking of us that we forget to go inside ourselves to feel and be love. When this happens, no amount of “connecting” will bring love or authentic connections to others.
Boundaries: Do I need to lose my phone in the mountains to shut down the sensory overload? Is it necessary for my client to delete her FB application from her iphone to stop checking it constantly? No.
- Internal boundaries can be installed to replace the autopilot addictive habits. Knowing what is driving your habit is key (ie. hence, limiting beliefs, which we all have.)
- For some, it may be a sense of belonging.
- For others, it may be a fear of failure, which I believe drove my addiction to my work blackberry a few years ago. (It didn’t help that there was an expectation of response at work whether there was actual emergency or not.)
- It may be an underlying question of value-of time spent away from email and social media; of one’s self: many people look for attention and validation through social media. When we give ourselves attention and approval, this replaces the overly-strong need to receive it from others.
- When we can be reached so easily by people these days, some people have a hard time saying no or not responding to emails or requests because they don’t want to be rude or fear they will miss out.
- Solution lies below.
Intuition: It always comes back to this. When the protective ego (or subconscious mind) is overpowering the heart, or our intuition, we can get lost in the digital age.
- Our intuition is our best filter and our best connection to all people, opportunities, and our wisdom.
- It’s not just the Internet that has the ability to transcend time, space, and distance. We each have a powerful built-in compass that gives us advice and direction, and it’s not limited by our senses.
- Through our internal compasses, humans have the capacity to sustain our inventions. It’s not the Internet’s fault that we are on sensory overload. It’s our creation; it’s what we make of it. If your habit is to listen to your internal compass, then you will use the gifts of the digital age to your advantage. If you are constantly focusing outward, then the digital age can drown you, as it occupies your mental and emotional space and distracts you.
- To turn the Digital Age into a gift, clear out the limiting beliefs that keep you from hearing your own guidance. Your intuition will prompt you on every level of your life, including when to check your email and social media and how to focus your attention when you do.
- Trust your internal compass to direct your boundaries. We are not all meant to be friends or work associates. Your intuition knows how to respond (or not) to requests and demands on your time. If guilt or worry drives your responses, then you’re doing the other person more harm than good. Your “no” may be what they need to direct their attention to be a better resource or circumstance. That that you will know what opportunities are right for you.
- For exhaustion, stress, emotional overwhelm, and stronger boundaries, especially while in front of the computer all day, try this easy Donna Eden Energy Medicine technique, which takes 90 seconds: Wayne Cook Posture.
Now more than ever, as information technology becomes more and more seamless and accessible, it is important to turn up the volume of your own GPS system so that you can navigate it effectively. No need to get run off the information superhighway. Through spotting limiting beliefs, hypnosis, Energy Medicine, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) (or some combination), Bridgenosis® helps clients to just that. To learn more about the unique Bridgenosis® approach, click here.