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Your Brain: Maybe It’s a Human Version of Computer Overload

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Maybe there’s nothing wrong with your brain at all. Maybe it’s a human version of computer overload.

Stop and reflect on the amount of information our parents or grandparents dealt with every day and compare it to the volume of 24/7 info-tainment most of us are exposed to today.

In the distant past, Dad had one relatively simple, straightforward job, often lasting for years, and usually a job he didn’t bring home. Mom did household management, maybe an outside part-time job, kids, social activities. Homework in the evening, and if you were good maybe some, but certainly not unlimited, TV. You were reading a book. You went to an occasional movie at the theater. Vacation meant driving to a cabin to rest and restore.

Ponder our lives today: more complex jobs (often multiple jobs–and with uncertain futures, at that) requiring a lot of multi-tasking, mental attention, and mountains of e-mail. Balancing work and family. At work–and after work too–more e-mail, news via five different pieces of technology, hundreds of cable channels, cell phones, blackberries, your home computer, and a calendar filed with children’s activities and places to be. With iPods everywhere, lengthy periods of actual silence, which allow your brain to just chill out for a while, have become distant memory.

A few weeks ago, I was looking through issues of LIFE Magazine from the 1930s through the 1950s. Families around dinner tables, talking to each other. In living rooms, listening to the radio, playing records, watching TV.

In a nutshell, we’re assaulted by a lot of additional and generally useless information all day long. When our brains can’t keep track of everything, we think there’s something wrong with them.

Remember, in holistic medicine, symptoms (like your brain fog) don’t necessarily mean disease. The symptoms can be a message–in this case, your body telling you about a lifestyle it simply doesn’t like and wants you to change. Too bad your brain can’t send you an e-mail. You’d probably pay attention to a note that read: “This is your brain. You are mucking me up.”

Try taking a little break once a day. Go for a walk and look around. Don’t listen to music or check your messages along the way. Break away from all technology for an hour each day and let your mind wander.

Stroll through nature. Okay, I hear you. You’re very busy. And that is part of the problem.

Relax and breathe.

Next time: why stress matters in how your brain functions.

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