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Would You Rather Be Over-Informed or Happy?

onlineNot long ago I wrote a blog post that quickly resonated with thousands of people called “Living in a Brainwashed Culture of Urgency.” I want to take that discussion to the next level highlighting not only the habit in our culture toward urgency, but also to being overly informed. The reality is our digital machines make it so easy to get an abundance of information at the touch of a fingertip. For the most part, the need to know all the latest news whether it’s social, political, sports, health, or what-have-you actually gets in the way of our happiness.

But, it seems like we need all that information.

Do we?

Somehow the media has us at the digital counter saying, “Super-Size me please.”

Like an addiction to food, most of the time we ingest it because it’s either a habit and we don’t know what else to do, or it’s a way for us to check out from feeling bored, anxious or generally uncomfortable with the moment.

In the previous post I talked about how through mindful eating people often have the experience of enjoying the food in a way they never had before. Or the opposite where one man said he’d been shoveling raisins down his throat his whole life only to realize now that he doesn’t even like raisins.

When we spend all the in-between-spaces in our day, the moments where we might otherwise be waiting, ingesting an onslaught of information, we don’t even have a moment to be self reflective to see if we even like the media we’re ingesting. Or we don’t have the space to see the other things that might be more nourishing to us o make us happy.

The point here isn’t that engaging with the various forms of media is a bad thing; it can be a great source of play, joy, insight and relaxation. It’s just the frequency and intensity of attention that we give it that for many people, whether they know it or not, has become a source of stress. The brain can only handle so much without getting stressed.

Take a look at all the activities you do in a day and ask yourself, how often do I “check” (an obsessive compulsive term) an application, the web or the television for some form of media input?

Be on the lookout for moments of “checking” the media. Is there something I might like to do that may be more rewarding, like calling a friend, stretching or a little mindfulness?

In this moment right now you have the opportunity to break free from this addictive behavior, reclaim your time and attention and start the practice of pay attention to what really matters to you. This is the effect of mindfulness or The Now Effect.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Woman on-line image available from Shutterstock.

Would You Rather Be Over-Informed or Happy?

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.

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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2013). Would You Rather Be Over-Informed or Happy?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Jun 2013
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