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  • SuePattonThoele

Avoiding Overstimulation

Do you suffer from FOMO? Does FOMO keep you on the go even when exhaustion is tugging at your sleeve like a sleep-deprived two-year-old? Does FOMO have you tethered to social media sites or glued to twenty-four-hour news channels until you’re drowning in a tsunami of misinformation? If you are scratching your head wondering what FOMO is, you and I may be from the same generation. At Bookless Club, I learned from a younger neighbor that FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. Let’s talk about a different FOMO, Fear Of Maxing Out.

During crises, most of us are able to muster astonishing strength and stamina. Understandable causes such as illness, new babies, travel, deadlines, financial concerns, and natural disasters stretch us to the limit of our endurance but are a necessary part of life. And most are intermittent. In today’s accelerated and densely populated society, however, much overstimulation, or maxed-outness, is relentlessly constant and of our own choosing.

It takes awareness to notice when you’re overstimulated and a lot of courage to actually do something about it. Turning off devices, muting sound, getting enough sleep, saying no to a request for help or—harder still—an enticing invitation can be very difficult to do, especially if we’re addicted to the rush of being in the know. But, for the sake of our poor beleaguered nervous systems, we need to try.

Our technology guru, Michael, told us that shutting down our computers each night protects them from invasion. With a wink, he said, “Computers need to rest, too.” So do overtaxed nervous systems. If a nervous system is kept at red alert too long, it may give up and shut itself down. Just the opposite of computers, a shuttered nervous system is more susceptible to invasion from interlopers such as illness, brain fog, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and emotional burnout.

If you are deeply fearful of missing out, it won’t be easy, but please do yourself and your nervous system a big favor and have the courage to alleviate maxing out in all the ways you can.

During your day...

  • Designate a device-free zone at work or home and spend ten minutes or more there.

  • Use earplugs or headphones to mask energy-draining noise.

  • Become aware of maxed-out emotional and physical fallout you may be experiencing.

FOMO: For One Moment Only,

give yourself a stimulation break.

Excerpted from The Woman's Book of Strength by Sue Patton Thoele. Available on Mango and Amazon.

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