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Oh, that’s TMI! Too. Much. Information!

Perhaps you are just like me, an adult who has found herself adapting this saying in my daily vernacular. With our current technological advances, it has become quite easy for us to learn a little bit too much from those in our social network. Our favorite cousin may be posting five too many pictures of the cute new baby for the day. Maybe our coworker has been posting gossip that is too personal, but also too interesting, to look away. Regardless, too much information (TMI) can often lead to us feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed.

The concept of TMI is not isolated to personal information shared by those in our social network. At all times, we are inundated with a wealth of information, and we are constantly being offered more. Whether it be our latest Netflix binge or scrolling through news articles, have you found yourself feeling tired, yet, still pushing the button for the next episode or article? With our current health pandemic affecting our daily lives, have you found yourself starting off the day with one news update about Smith County, then one hour later, you’re scrolling through the highly contested comment section of a Youtube video on how to make your own hand sanitizer?

Although information can at times help us gain a sense of control, there is such a thing as too much information. Information technology overload is a state where our brains are overwhelmed with the amount of information that needs to be processed. Our brains require emotional, cognitive and physical energy in order to handle the information that is coming at us. When our brains become overwhelmed with the amount of information we are attempting to digest, we can experience stress, fatigue, anxiety and poor decision-making capabilities.

When we struggle to handle so much information, we can have a hard time figuring out how to prioritize, how to make the best choices and how to cope with stress. Therefore, giving yourself enough distance from information can be very important in managing the various challenges we are facing related to COVID-19 right now. This type of distance means taking a break emotionally from content that upsets us, focusing on making one decision at a time or taking a break from receiving more information. We can shut off the news alerts on our phones, turn off the television for the evening or better yet, we can actively choose to focus our time on something else that brings us joy.

Whether it be prayer and meditation, taking a walk outside or talking with your loved ones about something other than COVID-19, it is important to give ourselves time to rest our brains. Only then are we able to make better sense of what is going on. Doing so gives us the space we need to efficiently focus our attention in order to make the best decisions for our families.

Next time, when there is TMI, or you become Tired of Managing Input, remember to give your brain a break.



Fukukura, J., Ferguson, M. J., & Fujita, K. (2013). Psychological distance can improve decision making under information overload via gist memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142(3), 658–665.

Emotional and Cognitive Overload: The Dark Side of Information Technology, Anne-Francoise Rutkowski, Carol Saunders.


Information provided by Nelly Yuen, MA, Predoctoral Psychology Intern, and Stephanie Simmons, PsyD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. For more information, please call 903-877-7000 or visit


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