Knowledge is power. However, being overwhelmed with knowledge can slow progress. With the current 24/7 news cycle, unlimited access to advice, academic knowledge, and expert opinion. The unlimited options for where, when, how, and from whom to hear it. As a result, information overload is pretty much inescapable. It can become exhausting and overwhelming to deal with so much information.

When we are overwhelmed with too much information we may feel cognitive overload. This happens when you reach a point of paralysis of information — not being able to process and then act on what is heard.

External factors

With progress and technology more information than ever is available at our fingertips. We can now get information from many sources. We have tv, the internet and all social media channels. Receiving information in multiple ways can produce cognitive overload.

Internal behaviors

Cognitive overload also can occur from your internal memory sources. For example, think about your current knowledge of a particular topic. There has been a lot of data that has been gathered from your education, experiences, and interactions with others.

Reactions to cognitive overload

Different people respond to cognitive overload in different ways. These may include:

  • Paralysis

Being unable to deal with a topic or issue because it’s more complex than you’re able to manage.

  • Anger

If the information doesn’t fit with the way you think or feel, you may become angry. Repeated attempts to address a topic may lead to feelings of upset or anxiousness.

  • Passivity

Simply going along with others is a way of dealing with cognitive overload. Forming an opinion on a topic may feel overwhelming.

  • Understanding

You may process information by relying on input from trusted sources. Increasing your knowledge of a topic can be exciting when you are confident in the validity of the information. Look for ways to gather details in your preferred learning style. 

Be mindful of how you feel and listen to your body. Do not let the overwhelm with knowledge slow down your progress. If you find these challenging we can help. Let us know.

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