“Information is food for our brain,” says Brewer. “It helps us survive by planning the future based on past experiences.” Uncertainty, however, is like a “hunger pang” for the brain—it’s a sign that says, We need more information, and we need it now. That said, your body can have a natural inclination to seek out information—which is why you may feel anxious when you can’t find it.
However, says Brewer, it’s important to know how much information your brain can actually digest. “If we just run around thinking, ‘I need to get all the information I can possibly get,’ that may not actually help us,” he says. Rather, think: “Am I actually getting information that I can absorb and digest, or am I starting to freak out?” After all, uncertainty can breed anxiety and fear, which can quickly lead to panic.
So while your brain may naturally gravitate toward this information-gathering stage, Brewer recommends taking a step back—literally. “In those moments when we’re starting to freak out, close the laptop, take some deep breaths… Then check to see, is this still persistent?”