I have a theory about the human mind. A brain is a lot like a computer. It will only take so many facts, and then it will go on overload and blow up. Erma Bombeck
“I get saturated”, my husband said, as we began to discuss why we had a blow-up argument earlier that morning. ” I can only take so much information, and my emotions can only take so much and then I just feel overwhelmed”.
Do you ever experience someone displaying an unexpectedly emotional, defensive, or even angry outburst to cause a sudden end to a conversation?
Do you ever feel as if you had a conversation with your spouse, or one of the kids, etc. and they interacted back enough to fool you into thinking they were processing as well as retaining the information…and then later you realize they have no recollection of the conversation, and you might as well have carried on the conversation with the wall?
Maybe the culprit is information overload. In our current technological world, we are inundated with enormous pieces of information in a day….from TV, radio, emails, text messages, advertisements, browsing as well as working on our computers. Information overload is a problem with growing exposure and also an area of new and promising research. It is a proven fact that our brains can only hold so much, and then they have to let some information go to make room for new information. The brain can become overwhelmed with trying to decide what to hold on to and what to ignore. Too much info has a negative impact on our ability to think, reason, and cope.
In our daily interactions with our spouses, this can certainly impact how well they can attend to our expressed needs. As Christian wives, I think it is an important skill to recognize when our husbands are showing signs of saturation. If we keep pressuring them to continue a discussion, for example, when their inner sponge is full, there is going to be overflow…and not typically of a positive nature.
Some suggestions for the household.
1) When discussing issues with our spouse, learn to control any emotional compulsion to have closure to an issue in that moment….trust God and learn to LET IT GO!.. It can always be revisited at a later, more appropriate time.
2) If there is important information that needs to be conveyed, figure out what each person best attends to for retaining that information (ie repeating it back to you, having it in written form, having a “check-in” time during the day when you touch base with each other)
3) Ask for some time when you can have undivided attention of the person you are needing to inform…make sure you have eye contact. Keep the conversation as brief as you can to ensure they do not become too overwhelmed with the information and begin to tune out.
4) Work and re-work the scenarios that go wrong to figure out what can be done differently next time to improve the communication.
Prayer for your communication: May you become more adept at recognizing information overload interfering with the relationships around you. May God grant you the patience and wisdom to know how to keep it from causing discord in your home.
Have you noticed signs of information overload in your home or workplace? What techniques have worked for you? Do you notice how information overload affects you negatively too?
Watching the Human Brain Process Information: http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reportsitem.aspx?id=102399
Death By Information Overload: http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?qid=3899
Information Overload and the Art of Communication: http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/information-overload-the-art-of-communication/
10 Ways to Overcome Information Overload : http://www.teamhealth.com/wellness/mentalhealthmatters/overcomeoverload.pdf
Are You Disconnected From Your Spouse?: http://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/are-you-disconnected-from-your-spouse-11603424.html
10 Ways to Recover and Reconnect With Your Spouse: http://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/10-ways-to-recover-and-reconnect-with-your-spouse-1315531.html
Marathon Arguing: http://www.marriagemissions.com/marathon-arguing/