Overwhelm and The Distracted Mind

Every day we are bombarded by information and distractions. It can feel like our attention is being pulled in a million different directions at once. What can we do to enjoy, sort out all of the incoming information while maintaining our focus, productivity and well-being?

In my pursuit of the answer to that question, a lightbulb has come on. In the article below it explains so clearly that our brains simply do not have the processing capacity needed to simultaneously receive and interpret all the information we are exposed to at every moment.

We have come to believe that the human brain is a master navigator of the river of information that rages steadily all around us. And yet we often feel challenged when trying to fulfill even fairly simple goals. This is the result of interference—both distractions from irrelevant information and interruptions by our attempts to simultaneously pursue multiple goals. Many of you may now be glancing accusingly at your mobile phone. But before we place any blame on this potential culprit, it is critical to understand that our sensitivity to interference, or what we will refer to as “the Distracted Mind,” was not born out of modern technology. Rather, it is a fundamental vulnerability of our brain  Excerpt from “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High Tech World” by Adam Gassaley

Our “vulnerable brain” sums it up.  How can we support, ease, lessen the stressors we put on our brain and our bodies?

There is a lot of chatter, noise, and distractions around us on any given day. With our increasing need/desire to multi-task, we seem to have lost the ability to single task.

I recently attended a meeting and we enjoyed a guided visualization.  Afterwards, one of participants shared that his day had been so hectic and he felt very stressed when he arrived – but after the visualization his thoughts had calmed down and he was present.

It is crucial that we recognize the need for tools and techniques to help us stay focused and cultivate moment-to-moment awareness. To recognize the need that our bodies have to take a break from it all – to step out of the stimulation and stress and rest. That is where focus can return.

Mindfulness meditations, yoga, relaxation techniques and services are growing in popularity and demand.  Though the spiritual effects are well-known, there are also profound and scientifically proven emotional and physical benefits. They are extremely effective tools for dealing with stress-based reactions like anxiety, depression, obsessive thinking and worry.

In my next blog “The Power of Disconnection” we will explore some of these tools and techniques in more detail.  Relief is in sight!

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