many of us feel overwhelmed by managing some aspects of life
today, each of us individually generates more information than ever before in human history. our world is now awash in an unprecedented volume of data. the trouble is, our brains haven’t evolved to be able to process it all.
our brains have the ability to process the information we take in, but at a cost: we can have trouble separating the trivial from the important, and all this information processing makes us tired.
neurons are living cells with a metabolism; they need oxygen and glucose to survive, and when they’ve been working hard, we experience fatigue. every status update you read on facebook, every tweet or text message you get from a friend, is competing for resources in your brain with important things like whether to put your savings in stocks or bonds, where you left your passport, or how best to reconcile with a close friend you just had an argument with.
the processing capacity of the conscious mind has been estimated (by the researcher mihaly csikszentmihalyi and, independently, by bell labs engineer robert Lucky) at 120 bits per second. that bandwidth, or window, is the speed limit for the traffic of information we can pay conscious attention to at any one time.
what does this bandwidth restriction—this information speed limit—mean in terms of our interactions with others? in order to understand one person speaking to us, we need to process 60 bits of information per second. with a processing limit of 120 bits per second, this means you can barely understand two people talking to you at the same time. under most circumstances, you won’t be able to understand three people talking at the same time. we’re surrounded on this planet by billions of other humans, but we can understand only two at a time at the most! it’s no wonder that the world is filled with so much misunderstanding.
with such attentional restrictions, it’s clear why many of us feel overwhelmed by managing some of the most basic aspects of life. part of the reason is that our brains evolved to help us deal with life during the hunter-gatherer phase of human history, a time when we might encounter no more than a thousand people across the entire span of our lifetime.
humans are, by most biological measures, the most successful species our planet has seen. we have managed to survive in nearly every climate our planet has offered (so far), and the rate of our population expansion exceeds that of any other known organism.
our brains evolved in a much simpler world with far less information coming at us. today, our attentional filters easily become overwhelmed. so give yourself a break, a literal break and relax its not easy being human.
*please see our sources page for references to data quoted above
what you think is what you feel
it is really important to recognise how our thoughts affect how we feel and in turn what we believe about ourselves and the world that we live in.
it is important for us to realise that these negative thoughts and the amount of attention that we give to them cause them to grow in intensity. the brilliant thing though is that this process is reversible and we can change our beliefs by challenging them. if we interrupt the negative self-talk, start being kinder with our thinking or distracting ourselves, our thoughts, feelings and beliefs will also change over time and so we’ll reap the positive effects in our lives
mind over back pain
to the surprise of doctors and patients alike, accumulating research suggests that most back pain isn’t actually the result of illness or injury. study after study indicates instead that back pain is very often caused by our thoughts, feelings, and resulting behaviours.
when our back hurts, it’s only natural to assume that we’ve suffered an injury or have a disease. after all, most pain works this way. when we cut our finger, we see blood and feel pain. when our throat hurts, it’s usually because of an infection.
but back pain is different. there simply isn’t a close connection between the condition of the spine and whether or not people experience pain. research has shown that a majority of people who have never had any significant back pain have the very same “abnormalities” (such as bulging or herniated spinal discs) that are frequently blamed for chronic back conditions.
and then there are the millions of people with back pain who show no structural abnormalities in their back at all.
focusing on the positive mind and reducing anxious, angry, and frustrated thoughts and feelings about our back pain plays in increasing our fear and stress about life in general
and as it turns out, it is precisely this fear and stress that maintains most back pain. this explains why events such as stress and worry all have all been shown to be contributing factors for back pain.
once people start having a negative thought and then start packing on other related worries and fears. soon, that negative thought gains size and momentum, like an enormous snowball growing rapidly as it reels down a hill. if unmanaged, this thought process can lead to a serious emotional avalanche where the person becomes increasingly overwhelmed, land is in a state of significant distress which can look like back pain.
be aware of your self-talk. pay attention to the voice within your head and notice when you are experiencing a negative thought. observe that negative thought or fear and make note of it’s presence. beware not to add additional worries or fears onto this thought. if your mind begins to do that, make sure you self soothe and talk yourself round coach yourself through the moment as if you were your very best friend.
iamlovingkindnessnetwork our sessions are dedicated to filling our members to the brim with positivity and lovingkindness gems so you can relax and feel good every day.
isolation & loneliness
there is a massive stigma about loneliness and it can be really confusing and hard to shift this feeling. you can be in a crowd of people and feel lonely. you can have a busy family life and feel lonely. you can feel like you don’t belong and feel lonely. there are hundred of reasons why people feel lonely. what you feel is what you feel and try not to over analyse and get upset about justifying it.
covid-19 either compounded this feeling of loneliness or created a new feeling of loneliness – and that is what it is is a feeling.
covid-19 physically isolated many of us for a long period of time away from our families, our friends, from our work colleagues and swept away our daily rhythm of life.
a lot of people found their daily in-person interactions were limited to the few people they lived with and a lot of us found our social interactions were made through digital technology.
you might be someone who found that you normally were ok about spending lots of time alone and then because of a forced social decision that we had to stay at home and that freedom was taken away from us, what surfaced was a need to be social, to be seen and to be heard.
one of the reasons loneliness is so bad for us is because it makes it harder for us to control our habits and behaviour. tests by the US psychologists Roy Baumeister and Jean Twenge in 2001 showed that the expectation of isolation reduces our willpower and perseverance, and makes it harder to regulate our behaviour: lonely middle-aged adults drink more alcohol, have unhealthier diets and take less exercise than the socially contented. drug abuse and bulimia nervosa are linked to loneliness. there are different reasons why lonely people find it hard to keep positive and adopt unhealthy habits but low self-esteem and a wish escape the feeling of loneliness can be factors.
it is important for us to realise that these negative thoughts/patterns and the amount of attention that we give to them cause them to grow in intensity. the brilliant thing though is that this process is reversible and we can change our beliefs by challenging them. if we interrupt the negative self-talk, start being kinder with our thinking and distracting ourselves, our thoughts, feelings and beliefs will also change over time and we become healthier. after a while you’ve turned life around. that’s the process and anyone can do it and you can start right now.
being human we are hardwired to connect – connection does matter. again this is individual to everyone and it takes time and kindness to ourselves to establish connection. a result of connection is we are happier and more resilient and life tends to get better.
social skills are like muscles and they strengthen the more we use them and weaken when we use them less. part of the reason for our social unease is triggered subconsciously by the brain and autonomic nervous system. the amygdala, a part of the brain, is constantly monitoring the environment we are in, assessing if someone or something may be a threat and sending signals throughout the body accordingly. (think “fight, flight, or freeze.”) having a pet, roommate, or family member occasionally crossing our path in lock down and our interactions limited to social media and an occasional facetime conversation, our brain has grown accustomed to a much different set of stimuli than having activity all around us to keep us busy and out of our own negative thinking.
at iamlovingkindnessnetwork our daily virtual sessions are designed to give everyone the space to be seen and for members to hear motivating and uplifting content in a safe and loving virtual environment. instead of being locked into the cycle of disproportionate negative thinking we can lift our selves into the positive and really effortlessly from the comfort from our homes reap the amazing benefits of having positive stimuli and connection on a daily basis.
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