Is this information relevant?
Every time you sit at your computer, open a new google search on your phone, or sign into Facebook ask yourself “Is this relevant?” “Will this information be of benefit to my situation?”.
I know that if I do a search on Multiple Sclerosis I am bombarded with information – symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatments, research. Then there’s the image search – brains, spinal cords, neurons, wheelchairs, walking sticks, hospitals, rehab equipment.
All incredibly overwhelming when just diagnosed with a disease you know nothing about.
I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing this overwhelm. It really does reinforce the impact information can have on your emotional wellbeing. And sometimes images can be difficult to erase… especially when trying to sleep at night.
(You might want to check out my blog Recognise the power of information.)
When faced with this overwhelm, one way you can protect your emotional wellbeing is to only focus on information that is relevant to your situation.
If recently diagnosed or navigating new symptoms, find a trusted website that explains what the test results mean, and what is happening to your body. Or an information source that will help you to make the right decision about treatment options.
You also need to protect your emotional wellbeing when you venture into the world of forums and Facebook groups. If you find yourself engaging in conversations (or observing from the side-line) ask yourself are these discussions increasing my understanding or inspiring me. Or are they reinforcing my fears? Depleting my energy rather that reenergising me for the challenges ahead?
I’ve become a little ruthless now. If a story helps me to move forward, then I keep listening or reading. I want to learn. But if the conversation is making me feel worried or a bit flat, then I disengage.
To help you focus on information that is relevant make a list of the websites, forums, and Facebook groups that you trust. Those that you will benefit from in living with your illness. Then refer to this list whenever you are searching for answers or a source of encouragement.
Keep remembering to only focus on information that is relevant.
PS Next week is all about protecting your emotional wellbeing by identifying whose opinion matters.
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