What is Brain Overload?
Before we dive in the definition of Brain Overload – or Information Overload, picture yourself in the following situation (unfortunately common):
- 10 Tabs are open in your browser: 3 unread emails, one draft, a document you are working on in Dropbox, Canva, Facebook, a zoom call you are attending, your e-commerce portal and your calendar.
- At the same time your phone is ringing, receiving constant notifications from social media, apps you never use.
- You had your headphones on, trying to be focused and concentrated while you are working.
How do you feel while imagining this situation? I feel dizzy, nervous and in a tight state.
Our contemporary working environment and lifestyle, constantly asks our brain to move from one input to the other, very quickly. Our attention is like a flipping ball changing focus and tasks in split seconds: we experience often brain overload.
We are constantly overstimulated, surrounded by an unsustainable amount of information.
“Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting. At the same time, we are all doing more. Thirty years ago, travel agents made our airline and rail reservations, salespeople helped us find what we were looking for in shops, and professional typists or secretaries helped busy people with their correspondence. Now we do most of those things ourselves. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies, and our favourite TV shows” Daniel J. Levitin – The Guardian
The symptoms of Information Overload are:
- Finding it difficult to concentrate
- Strong compulsion to check emails, apps, voice mails, etc.
What about multitasking?
It’s a Myth. A big and well crafted illusion.
Look at what Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT, says “our brains are not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”
We might not see the costs in the short term, but if we don’t address our “brain health” and start to control our environment, we might enter a state of chronic stress and deplete our brain and body from essential energy that compromises physical and mental performances.
No wonder we experience lack of energy..
Because, as Garrett Petticrew says: “If you don’t control the environment, the environment will control you”.
Have you ever been in the situation where -you know that you are mentally tired and in overload – but somehow you can’t put the phone down and be stimulated by something?
Paradoxically, sometimes our idea to slow down and relax is to watch TV or check our Socials (Instagram Reels_ yes I am guilty of that). We think we are relaxing our mind, but in reality we keep stimulating it – heavily.
“Multitasking” has been found to stimulate two mainly hormones: cortisol & adrenaline (the fight and flight response). These two can overstimulate the brain causing brain fog and poor thinking. It also creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, rewarding the brain for losing focus and constantly looking for external stimulations.
That’s why sometimes it’s hard to put our damn phone down.
Slow down your Breath, Slow down your Mind
As we said before, if we don’t start to control our environment, the environment will control us.
Sometimes we really need a break, sabbatical, holidays or simply a day off. It’s a vital action towards our self-care.
But what can we do daily to keep and manage our energy?
In order to minimize and control the impact of what is surrounding us, we need a Tool box ready to use, quick and efficient. A quick and efficient Yoga Tool? Breath work.
2 – 3 – 4 – 5 Breath
Slow Down your Breath to Slow down your Thoughts
- Clear visually the space you are in: clean and tidy up your desk, living room or bedroom.
- Sit comfy on a chair, pillow or directly on the floor. Make sure it is comfortable.
- Close your eyes, drop your shoulders, relax your face.
- Inhale for 2 counts with your nose. Exhale for 4 counts with your mouth. Repeat 3x Times.
- Inhale for 3 counts with your nose. Exhale for 6 counts with your mouth. Repeat 3x Times.
- Inhale for 4 counts with your nose. Exhale for 8 counts with your mouth. Repeat 3x Times.
- Inhale for 5 counts with your nose. Exhale for 10 counts with your mouth. Repeat 3x Times.
- Let go of the control of the Breath and breathe naturally. Observe your heart rate, the speed and quality of your thoughts, your breathing pattern. Hopefully they slowed down and a renewed sense of peace is arising.
Breath work stimulates our parasympathetic nervous systems (our rest and restore modes) that releases the hormone acetylcholine to slow the heart rate and release the stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Your next step
Let’s make an experiment for the next 21 days:
- Drink your last coffee 10 hours before going to bed
- Control and manage the load of information you want to receive during the day. Ex: carve out only 30’ a day to check your social media.
- In the evening before going to bed, practice the 2-3-4-5 BreathWork Exercises.
- Observe that from small changes we can obtain great results.
And for the rest, tell yourself that you are doing a great job – that you are willing to take care of yourselves and your wellbeing.
I am here for you, please let me know if I can support you even more.
Practice weekly with Corpo Giardino – Yoga Practices: https://corpogiardino.ch/weekly-zoom-classes/
The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jan/18/modern-world-bad-for-brain-daniel-j-levitin-organized-mind-information-overload
Garrett Petticrew: https://medium.com/wisehealthywealthy/if-you-dont-control-your-environment-your-environment-will-control-you-26f42dca143b
Photo by Daniel Torobekov from Pexels