When we continue ingesting food, even though we are sated, our bodies lose the ability to process and eliminate the additional calories and, instead of being used for energy, they are converted to and stored as fat. The resulting obese body becomes sluggish. Every physical action becomes more difficult. Movements become slower and, in extreme cases, immobility can ensue.
It occurs to me that mental obesity is not so very different.
Never in the history of our species has there been so much information available to us; such a variety of tempting nuggets and morsels for our minds to consume. All the things we didn’t know we didn’t know.
Gone are the days when we were unconscious of our ignorance. Now we are able to consider and think about anything and everything.
Information beckons to us in tempting ways – a tantalising headline, a stray comment that starts a thought train, a problem to be solved. And, like the physical over-eater, we move through life cramming our poor minds with more than they can process.
We cause mental obesity by stuffing our brains to a point of discomfort and this causes us to become sluggish, unfocused, distracted, unable to function.
Wherever and whatever you read, it’s hard not to come across tips, tricks and strategies to better cope with the mountains of information we try to consume each day. We read about time management, self management, email management and how to overcome procrastination. In fact an enormous industry has been born out of our need to deal with information.
The silly thing is, there is a simple answer.
Just say no.
Say no to receiving email newsletters.
Say no to continuing to subscribe to RSS feeds that have failed to provide anything useful for longer than you can remember.
Say no to being on call 24/7 by switching off mobile and cell phones for at least part of the day.
Whilst the answer may be simple, implementing it is not so easy.
Like the reluctant dieter addicted to carbs, many of us have become info addicts. We have become addicted to the hormone rush offered by the distracted lifestyle we adopt in order to consume more and more lovely information. Terrified we might miss something, we have computers and mobile devices feeding our addiction throughout the day – and night. We set up alerts, reminders and subscriptions without really then considering what value they bring to our lives.
In much the same way that many foodstuffs provide empty calories – they simply make us fat without providing any beneficial nutrients – so can low grade information provide an empty experience – but not before it has robbed us of our valuable time.
The beauty of the world we now live in is that information isn’t going anywhere. Once Google has its hooks into even the smallest nugget it remains for posterity. None of us have to grab at everything that comes along. It will still be there if and when we ever need it in the future.
We know maintaining a healthy physical weight is good for us. We know about the benefits we will experience if we resist overindulgence – even if we choose to ignore them.
I put it to you that there are similar health benefits to be gained by going on an information diet too. You can choose to select only the highest quality ‘nutrients’ for your mind. Be discerning. Avoid the junk, empty ‘calories’ to be found in your feed reader and inbox.
I believe your quality of life will improve beyond measure………….mine has!