Information overload is super easy. If your feed on Facebook or Twitter is anything like mine it isn’t long before you encounter a meme about politics, climate change, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and on and on. So much information about so many crucial topics.
The constant barrage of information also frequently includes comments. My friends always remark that you should never read the comments. That’s often true. Someone spouting their unprovable, counterfactual belief will troll the post, and that starts a whole other set of issues.
It is all too easy to be inundated with this. That can be massively overwhelming, which then leads to feeding negativity. Before I know it I am feeling angry, disbelieving, frustrated, sad, and worst of all fighting hopelessness.
So how do I disconnect without becoming completely disconnected? How do I be informed without getting inundated? How do I work on living my best life without feeling guilty?
Disconnecting without becoming disconnected
Let me start by saying I miss Google+. To me, this was Facebook for adults, and most of what we shared there tended away from all the noise on both Facebook and Twitter.
I confess that I spend very, very little time on Twitter. Apart from cross-posting my articles, I tend not to skim Twitter. Why? Though I know that most of this is venting of frustration over the madness in the world at large today, negativity is the dominant theme of the posts I see.
There are some very specific people that I will check out on Twitter because that’s one of the best ways to keep abreast of their lives. But overall, I am not there much.
Facebook, on the other hand, I think gets too much of my attention. Messenger is a great way to contact people, but skimming posts tends to be tricky. Plus, people do share news from legitimate media that helps me stay informed…but then there are the occasional bits of bullshit from illegitimate fake news sources and friends/family of friends’ comments.
I like to know what is happening with my friends. Part of that is due to my empathic nature, and in part because I like my friends and care about their lives. So quitting Facebook isn’t going to work for me. I just need to skim more and regulate digging too deep.
So some disconnecting to avoid overwhelm. Overall I need to be more mindful of what’s in my head thoughts/feelings wise as I go through social media posts.
Being informed without getting overwhelmed
To keep informed I also occasionally check out a legit news source or two, and if I read past a headline I skim for the meat of the news. I will not watch TV news or dig through legit media for all the minutiae of a story.
That’s where the trouble lies. When I begin to dig into the story and learn all the sordid details that, frankly, I don’t entirely need — it gets really overwhelming. So, so much is happening out there right now, and to be blunt there is very little that I can do about it.
That’s not to say there’s nothing I can do. But what I can do is limited. Letting it run me over does nothing but leave me as a bruised and beaten husk. It’s unnecessary to do that in order to be informed.
I completely and totally avoid the non-legitimate news media. If your credentials are hearsay, speculation, and opinion lacking provable fact you are not legitimate. I know some people look at those to see what the crazy people are going on about — but why torture yourself? Is it necessary to get that angry about this surreal circus?
So I work to stay informed without being overwhelmed as such.
Working on mindfulness and conscious reality creation guilt-free
In the midst of all this insanity, I have been working on becoming the best me that I can be. I am having a go at doing the thing I have most desired to do with my life, despite the risks. This is because I know this is my calling, and I believe that I can make my living doing what I love.
“…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” — Benjamin Franklin
In the face of a world going mad, am I selfish to pursue my dreams? No. Why? Because the above quote covers this well. And I know firsthand how the best-laid plans can go straight to hell.
One November afternoon 20 years ago I took a walk to the post office — and the next thing I knew I awoke in a hospital a week later, the victim of a hit-and-run. The next year of my life was spent recovering from some pretty nasty injuries. So right there you see how uncertain life can be.
Hence why I believe it is right and proper to pursue what I desire for my own life without guilt. Yes, I fully recognize that I have a certain amount of privilege that allows me to do this. Taking advantage of that doesn’t make me a bad person — so long as I am not intentionally stopping anyone else from doing the same, similarly privileged or not.
Still, I feel some guilt because I know a lot of people cannot do this. But me joining the miserable masses sure as hell doesn’t help anyone else. Me doing the work I love, part of which involves striving to help other people, on the other hand, could.
The choice is yours
I know you may well be going through tough times, and having issues dealing with the madness of the world at large. But you get to choose how much of it to take in, how much it impacts your thoughts, feelings, and actions, and overall mindset.
Knowing where your own line between informed and inundated lies will let you choose what you take in and where you stop yourself. Recognizing when you are becoming overwhelmed by the inundation of information will allow you to decide not to take it in.
This is a legitimate question of mental health. Keeping mindful of the line between informed and inundated will, frankly, help you stay sane and better resist the madness from there.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, as does your mental state.