I Want to Not Feel Overwhelmed or Confused
Our brains are a lot like computers—complex networks of electrical impulses travelling between synapses. Yet just like in a circuit board you hold in your hands, sometimes the pathways these electrical signals follow aren’t laid out in the most efficient way. When you haven’t developed your brain’s pathways to effectively direct the flow of incoming information, a surge of information can overwhelm you the way a power surge short-circuits a poorly designed circuit. When someone gives you complicated directions, or when you get your first look at a big exam, or any other time you’re suddenly faced with a difficult task, you might not know where to start and you freeze up with confusion.
At Critical Thinking for Success, we develop those pathways and prevent that confusion by training up the core cognitive skills that form your ability to process complex tasks.
Root Causes of Feeling Overwhelmed or Confused
The feelings we’ve described happen when any of a particular set of relevant cognitive abilities has been undertrained. These abilities can include:
- Direction and Orientation assists in grasping the logic driving relationships in the environment. You can then give and take directions as well as prioritize more easily.
- Classification and Categorization helps to separate ideas, objects, actions, emotions, and time periods into groups. Reorganizing information makes it easier to deal with complex tasks.
- Environmental Awareness builds mental templates for similar experiences and shows the relation of things in the environment to one another. You’re better able to maintain awareness of multiple things around you without getting distracted.
- Analysis and Synthesis helps break up issues or concepts into manageable pieces, see how they relate, and extract the main ideas. This assists in information management so you don’t get overwhelmed and shut down.
- Motor Integration helps you plan before you begin a task. It assists you in suspending emotions and planning the steps you need to take.
- Concrete Sequencing, or concrete logic, is how well you see what’s working at the moment or in a hands-on situation. You’re better able to recognize a process’s logic while it’s ongoing, can spot mistakes and inefficiencies early on, and are better at training others.
- Pattern Recognition, also called rule induction, is the ability to identify patterns and use them to create rules and templates for processing complicated or repetitive information with minimal conscious effort.
Improving Your Information-Processing
Through a simple set of exams, Critical Thinking for Success will pinpoint which of these skills are your strengths, and which are your weaknesses. We then develop a personalized training regimen that builds the weaker skills up, improving your ability to process complex information without feeling overwhelmed or confused.
Some of these skills, like concrete sequencing and classification and categorization, can be trained up by trying new approaches to real-life situations such as planning out your schedules and changing the way you organize things. Others are trained with daily puzzles and exercises that function as workouts for your brain. This training is supplemented by regular in-person coaching sessions, so that it solidifies into good mental habits that make daily tasks easier.
With time, your brain will develop new pathways for dealing with incoming information, and instead of getting overwhelmed, you’ll deftly maneuver through even complex challenges—sometimes without even thinking about it!