2017 08 16 informationoverload

Modern life is so noisy nowadays, it is the noisiest it has ever been in history, and with noise, many sounds are filtered out. As a result we could end up missing some of the most important things in life. This can have far reaching implications, and is aptly known as “overstimulation.”

Forget your smartphone, and your i7 chip set, the brain in your skull is the most efficient processor the world has ever known, capable of processing stimuli from a variety of sources, but sometimes it can all become too much. 

The external stimuli we experience every day extend far beyond what is natural.  Compare life today to life as it was just before the advent of the internet, even back then people complained about the stresses of modern life.  Nowadays, we have all our handheld smart devices, and technology is spreading like wildfire: Never before has mankind had so much technology at its disposal, but possibly to its peril.

Not sure how serious this all is? Let’s explore some ways our high tech world may be overstimulating our brains:

Negative Actions On Our Circadian Rhythm

The human body is a finely tuned instrument, one which is self-sustaining for the most part, and instinctively knows when to rest. Classically, the human body possesses a sleep-wake cycle, known as our circadian rhythm. This simply refers to the rise and fall of specific hormones, based on the levels of natural light we are exposed to.

Under ideal circumstances, this would make us wake up at around 5:30 AM, and go to bed between 6-9PM. However, this can easily be manipulated, thanks to the influence of artificial light. Following the advent of artificial light sources (lamps, lightbulbs etc.), humans became able to modify the circadian rhythms to sleep at a later hour, and conversely awaken later too. This is acceptable, except the fact that this alteration normally results in a sleep deficiency developing.

As mankind progresses, it is only getting worse; cellphones being easily used long after you’ve hit the sack, and should be warming up to sleep.

Memory May Suffer

The likelihood of becoming a scholar is higher than ever now, thanks to the widespread availability to educational material, but at a cost. Though you may be able to maintain a high level of performance for a time, eventually your memory will start to fail owing to a lack of sleep, and chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Everything requires a sacrifice, and attaining that degree may eventually cause you to lose an important part of what makes you, you. Tread lightly and sleep heavily.

Relationships Lose Meaning

What do relationships have to do with the brain? A lot, actually. Being in love, or caring deeply about someone causes profound changes to your brain’s neurochemistry, boosting motivation, drive and analysis.
However, technology may be causing us to lose some of the natural compensatory mechanism our brains have deigned to protect what we hold dear. Without lots of one-on-one time, your brain does not form as strong a level of connection with your significant other as it could.

Opting for text messages, instead of building communication is a poor tool, as it could never replace interpersonal relationship building. When you are eventually faced with having deep conversations, the awkward silence resulting may be the most visible indicator that something is truly messed up.

Brain Processing May Suffer

Your brain is a beast at processing stimuli. However, even the most powerful processor can get bogged down when exposed to too much stimulation. With noise coming from all directions, glaring lights, and flashing signs all around us, the brain inadvertently picks up everything and has to process it all. If you’ve tried working in a busy, noisy office, you probably found it hard to work at peak efficiency, and this is a symptom of the brain being overstimulated.

Even when you go home, you probably spend time on the internet or binge watching your favourite series.  Maybe you are one of those people who checks their phone messages in bed, when you should have begun winding down for a good night's sleep.

The risk of chronic overstimulation is extremely high, and can have profound negative effects for a prolonged period of time unless corrective steps are taken.


Technology is a blessing, there can be no argument there. However, the way we use it needs to be regulated.  There are no rules, you have to learn how to regulate it yourself: Otherwise the tools you use could end up using you. Technology should aim to free up our time, to enable us to do the things that matter most, not to detract from the world around us and overload our brains.