Information overload!!

Written by Debra Alper

It’s hard to pause at all these days, without someone or something competing for our attention. Whether it’s the ‘ding’ of new emails beckoning from our inbox, or calls from candidates vying for our vote, the information comes at a quick and constant clip. All will agree that life moves quickly these days. There seems to be so much more to know, and so many more ways to learn it. But what happens when we are exposed to more information than we can possibly process at one time? Is there a point at which the barrage of intel actually creates deleterious effects?

Often referred to as “cognitive overload,” neuroscientists explain that the form in which stimuli are presented impacts our brains’ ability to process them. For example, imagine yourself on a leisurely stroll through Central Park. You absorb countless stimuli, as your eyes witness the changing leaves of fall, ears hear them crunching beneath your feet, and your skin feels the cool air rushing by as the wind grows stronger. Now counter this image with one of you standing in the middle of Times Square. When the lights and sounds around you seem to come in an uncontrolled and furious manner, our minds are hardly able to sort through it all, and the feeling of overstimulation results. Individuals may differ in terms of how much is too much. But when one does experience an overload of cognitive or sensory input, stress, indecisiveness, and what researches term “analysis paralysis” often follows. In other words, when faced with so much to attend to and consider, our brains literally freeze. Rather than wade through it all, we temporarily opt to focus on none of it at all. When cognitive overload is a chronic state, one common side effect is anxiety and a sense that we cannot meet the demands imposed upon us.

Fortunately, psychologists and neuroscientists offer some tips on how to wade through an information overload:

  1. Take breaks! This may seem like an obvious tip, but it is so often neglected. Taking breaks away from your computer, your phone, or whatever is the source of your analysis paralysis can help you regroup and recognize what is truly important information. When you focus on smaller, more important pieces of information and disregard the extraneous “noise,” you are in a better position to make focused, informed decisions.
  2. Set limits. Setting limits on how much TV you’ll watch, how much news you’ll read, when you will and won’t check email, and how many sources of sensory input you’ll expose yourself to, makes it less likely that cognitive overload will be a chronic problem for you.
  3. Exercise control. One significant source of stress is the feeling that we are passive receivers, unable to control the wave of information coming at us at any time. To reclaim some control, one can actively chose to filter out unnecessary and unwanted stimuli. Whether this means turning off your phone, lowering your shades, or physically removing yourself from overwhelming situations, opt to play an active role in determining what information and experiences you allow into your world.

No matter the particular technique you employ, taking an occasional pause from the stream of information around us can go a long way toward keeping us agile and ready to take on the world!

Inspirational Message

The Way of Mastery is to break all the rules—but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this; otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them.


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Calmer in the Face of Hardship
I came to the Center for Anxiety for help in dealing with a family member who suffered from extreme anxiety. But I ended up getting a serious illness two months later and started having my own sessions. With the help of my therapist I got through my illness, learned to understand my habits that were making my major life stresses worse, learned to communicate better, taper my anger, and surprisingly I became more calmer even though my hardships in life worsened. Therapy is a lot of work and not easy, but nothing in life comes easy! I became a better and softer mom and (when I practice what I learned) and my kids and home are calmer and happier. I am still a work in progress and have more to work on, but I know I am on the right path. I wish I knew before how my communication style and anger were really impacting my life, how being softer you can accomplish way more then being harsh. I have been to other therapists in the past and I can hands down say that the Center for Anxiety’s approach is really effective. I have even referred a bunch of people to the Center and they have been really happy with the therapists and how much they really care for their patients.
I Tackled a Long List of Fears
When I first came to the Center for Anxiety, my list of anxieties/fears was long! I was scared of getting sick, getting stranded, driving, flying and more. With the help of my therapist, I immediately got to work and tackled every one of my fears. Now the world is open to me and I feel free! I can dream big and accomplish whatever I set my mind to! I am especially grateful that I was able to do all this without having to rely on medication. It was hard work – grueling at times! – but now I have the coping tools within me for life. In fact a family member recently said to me “You are awesome. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to because you don’t let fear stop you! ” Thank you Dr. Rosmarin and the Center for Anxiety staff for helping me get here. My fears no longer limit me and I love my life. Try it, it might turn your life around too!
Highly Skilled and Professional Treatment
When I sought treatment at the Center for Anxiety, the clinic was is in its incipient stages. However, by the time I successfully finished treatment, the Center for Anxiety grew and flourished into a world-class treatment center, offering cutting-edge, evidence-based treatment to countless individuals. The continued success of the Center for Anxiety comes as no surprise to me, with a team that contains such highly skilled professionals who display clinical acumen, empathy, and compassion. When I first entered treatment I was concerned that therapy would be similar to the experiences with past psychologists: a seemingly bottomless pit with no reductions in my anxiety symptoms, but was so relieved when I started to feel less anxious after only a handful of sessions. My therapist created a treatment plan that was tailored exactly to my needs and taught me practical skills to help me work through my anxiety that I still use and practice to this very day.
No More Panic
When I first came in, I was struggling with panic disorder and didn’t even know it, which only made dealing with it that much more difficult. After my first time sitting down with my therapist, however, I instantly started to gain perspective and look at the difficult situation in a different light. Our meetings helped me conquer the issue step by step and get my life back on track. I’d strongly recommend that anyone dealing with anxiety in a way that impacts their day to day life should visit the Center for Anxiety! I know it helped me tremendously.
Free of Obsessions
When I woke up one morning last June and didn’t want to get out of bed, I knew I needed help. The thought of getting through another day with all my anxieties, obsessions and rituals was just too overwhelming. After feeling stuck for years, I just couldn’t anymore. Thankfully, that’s when I found the Center for Anxiety. Dr. Rosmarin and his staff are experts at what they do, kind and professional. After just several weeks I accomplished my initial targets. The change I experienced in such a short amount of time was astounding that I stayed on for a while longer to work on more complex goals. I soon achieved those too. Now, I am free of my obsessions, know how to manage my anxiety, and love my life. My only regret: not having done this sooner. I wish I had known that you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to get help.
Depression Lifted
I’m 26 years old and I’ve been suffering from terrible depression for 7 years. In the throws of my sadness I literally wanted to die. Soon after starting therapy at the Center for Anxiety, my depression lifted. My suicidal thoughts began to dissipate. I remember the feeling that came over me as soon as the dark cloud above me left. It was the most liberating feeling I have ever experienced. I actually shouted to my friends, family and anyone nearby me “I’m Happy! I am Happy!” I felt free.
Over the course of four years I developed anxiety-like symptoms (tightness in chest, gut, back) that slowly but surely increased in duration and severity. The EXTREMELY uncomfortable nature of the symptoms notwithstanding, I still continued and managed to function. The effort required to do so, however, left me utterly drained. Having always been a very spiritual person I strongly felt that a course of therapy incorporating a spiritual component could potentially work well for me and decided to give the Center for Anxiety a try. Happily, I have achieved significant symptom reduction, tremendously improved emotional/mental health, and above all, Connection. Medication free. I’m no longer just existing, I’m LIVING. I’ve been given a second chance to become the unique human being that I was meant to be.
No More worries
I have wormed in healthcare for 36 years in many different settings, and I have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the Center for Anxiety. When staff says they are going to call, I get a call. From the first contact, I have been very impressed with the professionalism and efficiency. I had a situation and needed to have sessions more than once per week, and my clinicians worked out a schedule to accommodate my needs. I was astounded that they attended to me so quickly and effectively - they made my priority their priority. My clinicians were also excellent at what they do - they have a plan for me each session, and it's clear that they have thought in advance about each session, and that they are listening to what I say and observing what I do, even though our sessions have been conducted via Telehealth. Compassion is a quality that I have all too often found to be lacking in my experiences as a healthcare professional and patient, and this is not the case with the Center for Anxiety. Of all the websites I found on Google, I am so thankful that God guided my hand to yours.

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