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“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein
Do you agree?

An elementary school teacher may literally be asked 500 questions a day — each one of those require a second of thought, sometimes a few, and often a repeat answer. Nevertheless, each one is a hiccup in the thought or teaching process, and does require a decision, however small, to be made. Sometimes I’d get home after school teaching middle school and just go to a quiet room for a while to hear … nothing.

Some workers are faced with the same situation every day in a wide variety of jobs — instant decision making, each one brings with it a miniscule amount of stress and occasionally a whole lot of stress.

The problem is there’s little escape. I’m told that home should be a haven, and to an extent that’s true for most of us. There’s nothing like getting home after a hard day at the office or the grocery store, kicking off you shoes, and feeling safe and comfortable. That doesn’t mean it’s free from struggles or strains: children, spouses, calls from crazy sisters or a meddlesome mother-in-law, meal-making, never-cleanup and organizing yourself and often others. Whew. It’s a mad house!

I think technology of all kinds has made stress in our lives even worse. There’s a mentality that if you can reach someone instantly, they should respond at once. When you have a boss who thinks he/she owns you, would could be taking work home with you even if you just take your phone home. Parents have to monitor kids on the internet, even with filter; what TV programs children view ought to be carefully selected, too. They’ve gotten pretty raunchy even at times when children might be allowed to watch.

Then there’s the news. Several 24-hour news channels pummel us with information as breaking news, even if it’s just that Justin Bieber got arrested for pot possession. Then the next item is about 4 U.S. citizens being killed in Benghazi. Where’s the balance, the proportion. Everything is thrown at us with equal force and it gets wearing and creates a constant level of anxiety. Life has gotten more complicated, and people are desensitizing because of it.

The only way to escape, besides moving to a faraway island with poor cell phone reception, is to set one’s own boundaries. To decide when to care, when to turn off the noise, when to turn off the TV, when to answer the phone. Just because it rings, beeps, serenades, or buzzes doesn’t mean it has to be answered. We have to value our personal and family time more, and sometimes that means getting rid of unnecessary stimuli, making our home an occasional impenetrable fortress.

 

 

 

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