With smartphones and WiFi readily available, we have a non-stop stream of information at our fingertips. However, too much information can be overwhelming until it is a wall of noise, like a constant battle for our limited attention with texts and Tweets. We watch TV with our smartphone at hand to bring up the bio of actors on IMDB, or interact with Anderson Cooper via Twitter while he broadcasts the news on location in the middle of a hurricane. All this information overload can lead to information sickness, a term first coined in Ted Mooney's book, Easy Travel to Other Planets. Information sickness can leave oneself nauseated and disorietened from the ever increasing onslaught of information. It is amazing how many tickers a sports broadcast tries to display during any given sports event.
All is not lost, there are steps to take in order to cure yourself of Information Sickness:
Ban your smartphone at home
Not everyone can go cold turkey without their smartphone, but you can take baby steps to limit your usage. Perhaps have a phone basket by the front door, when you come home the phone goes in the basket and does not leave until you leave the house. The distraction of email, texts and Tweets will be banked until you are ready to deal with them at your leisure instead of each intrusive vibration - which inevitably leads to phantom phone; the sensation that a phone is vibrating and needs to be answered even when the phone is not present. How many times have you reached into your pocket to answer your phone when it wasn't even on your person?
Turn off the TV
Information can come from all the tickers and streams of information sidebars and footers of your TV screen. While watching The Voice, you can see Tweets from the celebrity judges across the bottom of the screen with each event, be it contestant change or commercial break. Turn the TV off, do not watch the news, pickup a book or go for a walk, avoiding all forms of electronic fed media should curb some of the symptoms of information sickness.
The Slow Movement advocates taking time to stop and smell the roses, grow your own food, cook meals that take a long time and eat with consciousness and meaning. The ability to willingly take your time in a given activity, be it cooking, eating, or a hobby acts as a form of meditation. Slowing down cures information sickness by forcing you to be present, in the moment instead of scattered in a million fragment bits of information that change so rapidly as to be almost meaningless.
...and remember to breath!