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I am a naturally analytical person and a born researcher who likes to know as much as possible about something before I give it a try. Sometimes I feel as though search engines were designed with my personality type in mind; endless information, organized and delivered with the click of the mouse. But Googling can be a very slippery slope and these tendencies plus parenthood meant that I had a serious Google addiction. A few months ago I decided to stop Googling and the results have been seriously life-changing.
Googling was fueling my already rampant anxiety. Even if you aren't a natural worrier, the Internet will give you something to worry about. Curiosity about your baby's sleep habits will lead you down a rabbit hole of information that will leave you wondering if there is something seriously wrong with your child. A search for parenting advice will give you so many differing opinions that you will feel as though anything you do might be a mistake. Worse still, the autofill suggestions in google will provide you with new things you hadn't even imagined worrying about.
As if the anxiety fueling wasn't bad enough, I also spent more time researching than actually doing. It all starts with a good intention, a desire to do an art project with my kindergartener or sew pajamas for my toddler, but it ends in hours of Web surfing and nothing actually getting done. The Internet can be an inspiring and informative place but it's also a huge time suck. Furthermore, for a perfectionist, it can be hard to ignore the experts available at your fingertips and simply make things up as you go along.
What I discovered is that in most instances there is a much better way to get the information you seek.
One day a few months ago, it dawned on me that Google wasn't doing me many favors, so I quit, cold turkey. No more typing my endless worries into that search bar, no more researching the very best way to do something. And save a few recent phone number inquiries and recipe details, I've managed to happily avoid Internet searches.
The magic of figuring things out in other ways has been quite extraordinary. I'm not anti-Google, but I do use it much more mindfully now. What I discovered is that in most instances there is a much better way to get the information you seek. Without Google, I found myself asking my friends and family and not only did they have great suggestions, but it gave me an excuse to connect with them.
I also starting getting information the old fashioned way, from books. The nice thing about books is that they have to go through a much more rigorous publishing process than an online article so it's much easier to trust what you find within their covers. For medical concerns, I realized if my worry was serious enough to call the doctor, that is what I should do and if it wasn't, the Internet was not going to soothe my anxiety.
Ultimately, I discovered that making things up as you go along isn't just fun, it's informative in a whole new, or rather very old, way. In fact, my favorite part of avoiding Google is the lightness I've felt. I gave myself permission to trust my gut, learn by doing and simply wing it, all of which are valuable lessons you can't learn online.