Information overload, too many choices and too much technology and time in front of a screen can make the brain struggle to cope, says resilience coach Lance Burdett.

A former police officer in the force for 22 years, he was a trained crisis negotiator and suicide intervention specialist, but he left to start his personal resilience coaching company WARN (Wellness, Awareness, Resilience and Negotiation) International, which provides consultation, coaching, people management skills and resilience coaching.

''I came from negotiation work and was in crisis negotiation for 13 years,'' he said.

''It was around dealing with emotional people and how to tell if people were struggling with suicidal thoughts.''


New Zealand's rural support trusts are hosting Burdett on a national speaking tour for rural and farming communities this month.

He will be providing tools and techniques to farmers, young people and others in rural communities to help them deal with negativity, stress, depression and suicidal thoughts, something which he has had to deal with himself.

He will be hosted by the Otago Rural Support Trust and speaking at Waitaki Boys' High School from 7.30pm on May 13.

The next day he will be speaking at the South Otago Town and Country Club from 7.30pm.

The Southland Rural Support Trust will host Burdett at a community meeting from 2pm at the Croydon Lodge, Gore, on May 15.

There is also a breakfast at the lodge for rural professionals the next morning from 7am.

His last talk will be at the Central Southland College, Winton, from 7.30pm on May 16.

He said new technology and staring at screens every day provided an emotional overload for our prehistoric brains.


''There are now so many choices, even just for coffee - there are 20 different types to choose,'' he said.

Social isolation is also a bigger issue than ever.

''We all communicate more by email.

''We just want to read and send something back rather than talk over the phone.

''We also have higher expectations and we want things faster and we want it fixed now.''

Burdett said those factors all contributed to anxiety and stress.

''Those conditions are quite normal and a product of the modern work.''

He suggested reducing the use of technology, getting more exercise and better quality sleep, as well as socialising more face to face.

Worry and negativity were risk management tools that were hard-wired into the brain as part of evolution.

Those who were prepared for the worst and looked for dangers tended to survive.

During his talks he will discuss practical ways of not letting little things ''take us down, as little things end up as big things''.

He was also going to talk about being more resilient, more adaptable and more flexible and developing ways of dealing with adversity, isolation and other problems that can worry and impact farmers.