Imagine your body as a cup. Are you mindful of how much you put in it?
We cannot consume more information and news than we can actually digest in any given day. Our brains and our bodies were not designed to host the amount of information we have access to in this modern age.
If we feel overwhelmed and flooded by all that is going on around us, it could be a sign that we need to turn the taps off more often and give our mind, body and soul some space to breathe.
As devastating or important as the news may sometimes be, it doesn’t necessarily help that we know it at this very instant.
We can create more space in our lives by limiting how much unnecessary information we consume each day.
It’s not that we turn a blind eye or do not care about important matters in the world. But it’s impossible to care or do anything useful with that information if we don’t have space for it.
Is it even necessary to worry about every single little matter in the world as an individual? Isn’t that the beauty of being part of a greater community and society? So that we share the load?
What if we simply prioritise what is most important to us? And make changes and take action where we can?
Ways to manage news consumption more mindfully
We each need to find our own ways that work for us, but as a starter, how about:
- Turning off social media over the weekends
- Reading the news once a week instead of twice a day
- Batching emails to once (or fewer times) a day
- Turning off notifications on all devices
- Eliminating multitasking, doing one thing at a time
Allow yourself to be undisturbed by the outside world for longer periods and wait until you are in the appropriate receiving mode to host the information.
When we have more space, both mentally and emotionally, we are much more grounded and better able to handle situations and information.
Just like air traffic controllers can only land a finite number of planes at any one time, we can learn to be our own news traffic controllers. We can take ownership of, and prioritise, what we allow into our lives.
Learning to prioritise
Living in such a fast-paced world, where we can access information immediately means that we have also lost the ability to discriminate between what is most urgent, what is most important and what is neither.
Just because we CAN buy something that will arrive on our doorstep the next day doesn’t mean we really NEED it that quickly.
Just because we CAN know so something immediately doesn’t mean we NEED to know it immediately.
Feeling overloaded with information can make us feel like everything is equally urgent and important when it is not the case. This way of thinking means we can feel like we are simply firefighting through every day of our lives and it’s exhausting. It creates a spiral upwards into anxiety and that serves no one, not ourselves and not the greater world.
Self care, in terms of looking after our mental health and overall wellbeing, is important because when we are well, we are better equipped to help the world in whatever way means most to us.
We can learn a lot about prioritisation from the methods of triaging in a hospital emergency room. In this brilliant talk by ER doctor Darria Long, she explains how we can re-frame our approach to prioritising in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming – and this can also be applied to the way we approach information consumption.
So the invitation is for us all to explore all the ways we can create more space in our lives, to host information from the world around us in a resilient way and know how to put that information to good use.
If you have any tips or stories you’d like to share, I love to read your comments.