Using your brain too much

2 years, 5 months ago

Anybody have some experience/insight into the capacity of information your brain can handle?

I’m a college student and have been preparing for 3 exams and a presentation coming up this week (back after back after back after back), and my body literally broke down last night. I had a dream I was studying to death, and I woke up with a fever and an upset stomach and have been sick all day. I rarely get sick.

It’s just so crazy. I want to hear other people’s similar stories if they have them so I can learn more from this experience.

November 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm

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It’s probably not that you reached your mental capacity. Most likely just stress.

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Profile photo of whales whales (@pwhalen) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

Sounds like your over loaded. Like a computer trying to handle too many processes at once.

I have been there and lost a lot of sleep and ultimately done poorly in school. Like @alltoohuman, said the key is to not delay studying. You can’t expect to learn four exams worth of material in a week..

Seek balance.

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Profile photo of Susyisthinking Susyisthinking (@susyisdead) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

@mcr513, I agree with @pwhalen, you are working too hard. I have a problem with saying “yes” to everything and signing up for too much stuff. Then my schedule looks crazy and insane and I stress myself out from having to complete all these things and this is when my health starts to plummet. I’ve been slowly learning how to cope with my stress and my frequent stomach pains are starting to go away ^^.

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

Your brain Has around 11 billion neurones, each with up to 10,000 neural connections. It’s unlikely you’ll have reached any ‘capacity’.

Perhaps you need to think of a different way of working if your situation is starting to affect you physically.

On the other hand it could simply be an ill timed cold.

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Profile photo of ELI var namnet ELI var namnet (@manimal) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

Yeah it’s burnout.
Don’t stress so much, don’t sacrifice your sleep. That shit makes your mind weak, and your body too. Actually, it slowly kills you.

You’ve not maxed out your mental potential, I’m not even sure if we can reach that level in the lifespan of a typical person.

I used to do that kind of this too, stress and struggle, but it leads fucking nowhere. It just fucks you up, and gives lousy results. It’s better to make sure you’re in a good state, because you learn faster and better and remember more.
You know how in big corporate offices they have these seminars and shit for the employees to learn “energy management” and whatnot, and how the elite athletes have coaches and so on, it’s for good reasons.

Managing energy is more important and effective than managing time. FOR REAL.

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Profile photo of Kayla Kayla (@tangerinesky624) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

as far as science knows, your long term memory has no limit on the amount of information it can hold. you’re probably experiencing high levels of stress and you have just burnt out. its very common that stress makes people physically ill.

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Profile photo of Sasho Stoyanov Anonymous (@) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

I think I wrote something about that months ago. About the importance of RESTING. Meditation also works, if you can control the stress and it’s not too overwhelming. Brain overheat is no joke, you can really get physically ill from too much stress. And the more stressed you are, the less quality of your sleep, eating, sometimes people even forget to drink water.

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Profile photo of ELI var namnet ELI var namnet (@manimal) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

It’s kind of like the RAM and switch file in your computer. If you’ve ever worked with a big CPU hungry project file you know what I’m talking about.
The working memory can only handle so much at a time.
That’s why those programs let you store things on disk, and/or offer memory-extension and conservation functions.

Same thing applies to your brain. You’re overloading your working memory by trying to take everything in at once. If you do it chunk by chunk, internalize things before taking on more, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Gotta swallow before you take another bite, catch my drift.

It’s kind of like a system of sluice gates. Each compartment can only hold so much water. Gotta let some of that water pass through further gates before you let more water in through the first one.

Also, like I said, keep an eye on your energy level. When it falls, it’s time to take a break. You barely learn stuff when your mind is tired, it’s just a waste of time and energy, it causes fatigue and stress.
Let things sink in, swallow before you take another bite.

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Profile photo of morgan morgan (@ammcq) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

I don’t think your brain reached its maximum capacity in the sense that you did not have any room for more information. But working your brain a lot can definitely tire out the rest of your body. If you think about it, a lot of the food we eat is used to power the brain, keeping us alive. So it sounds logical that using our brains a lot would require more energy, and the hard work and stress you were facing probably left your whole body exhausted. If you weren’t getting enough sleep, that would have been a big factor.

Being a college student myself, and having had to fight mono for most of this semester, I can definitely relate. One week, I had four exams and a few essays due, and I happened to feel more sick at the beginning of that week, maybe from stress of anticipating all the tests! But I have had more work this semester than I ever had in the past, and while it overwhelmed me at first, I got used to it, and now I don’t have trouble sitting down and working for hours (except now that the mono makes me want to fall asleep while reading). So that shows that you can improve your brain’s capacity to do work.

Try not to stress, and get plenty of rest, which is what I’ve had to do. Best of luck!

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Profile photo of Ramistotle Ramistotle (@mcr513) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

Thank you for the comments. I like the overloaded computer/biting off more than you can chew analogy.

I would say I have a strong work ethic, and I didn’t really feel stressed (I have been very confident this whole time, but my body just shut down), unless it was at a subconscious level. I think it was just a point in the semester where all the big course assignments bottlenecked in one week and I have been studying several hours everyday.

Fortunately, I have some assignments and tests postponed because of my illness, and my schedule next semester is much easier.

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