As a therapist and coach, I have seen first-hand the uncomfortableness of silence. When we think of it, we are surrounded by noise pollution. The beeping and buzzing of our phones and tablets. The humming of copy machines and computers. The vibrations and hums from the air-conditioning and heating units. The roar of garbage trucks and 18 wheelers. The rumble and swoosh of vehicles down the highway. Honk of car horns. Chatter in restaurants or shopping centers. Noise literally interrupts and infiltrates many areas of our lives. This noise clutter can produce everything from sleep issues, impaired hearing, to agitation and stress related cardiovascular symptoms.
Realistically, we cannot Thanos snap and eliminate the annoying little beeps, buzzes, and dings or the grating roar and rumbles of the garbage trucks (though that would be pretty cool). However, we can take time to reduce the effects of unwanted noise clutter. In our busy world, we cannot expect others to give us silence. However, we can grow comfortable with carving out opportunities for ourselves to enjoy the silence and more soothing sounds of nature.
Schedule Quiet Time
This is going to look different for different people. Quiet generally won't just happen. We each will have to seek out quiet time for ourselves. For some, this will mean getting up earlier than everyone else in the household-maybe going for an early morning walk or going to a corner of the home to just be alone with your own thoughts. For others, it may mean seizing opportunities at the end of the day when everyone else is asleep. Then still others will find that a middle of the day walk in the park to do just fine. The point is each of us will have to commit to making it happen.
Yes seriously, disconnect. We are all plugged in. Don't believe me? Quick question. How far away from you is your phone right now? Your tablet? Your computer? Your TV? How many of those devices currently have the alerts turned off? I'll wait. Chances are you are reading this article from at least one of those devices and at least one other device is within 10 steps away from you. When we are not online ourselves, our devices still beep or buzz with messages and alerts. However, it is in each of our control on how selective we are with checking our messages. We can choose to unplug by switching our phones, tablets, and computers to silent more often than we do and leaving them in the other room for 30 to 45 minutes.
Switch to the Nature Channel
The more noise we are exposed to, the more we need nature to help us balance things out. Being in nature helps boost our moods, improve our focus, and encourage our healing. Whether it is the sound of birds singing, the sound of flowing water, or the sound of the wind blowing in the trees, most of us don't really hear these sounds. If you live in the rural areas, this can be an easier task to accomplish than for a city dweller. Some ways to switch to the nature channel for city dwellers would be to go to a local park. Maybe investing in noise cancelling headphones can help drown out some of the city noise clutter. If there is no nearby park in reasonable distance, connect to electronic devices in another way by downloading or playing soothing sounds found in the natural world, such as mild drizzling rain, rumbling ocean waves, or the soft song of the forest.
We cannot really change the fact that we live in a noisy world. However, we can change how much or how little we allow this noisy world to infiltrate every second of our day. When we make effort to schedule quiet time, disconnect, and switch to the nature channel we open ourselves up to becoming more present in whatever we do and more adept in focusing our energy and efforts to what truly matters to us. There are many ways we can live a quiet, fulfilling life that gives us the joy and peace we all crave. These are just a few ideas. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below of some ways you have turned down the volume in our noise polluted world. As always, please remember as you begin this journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. Until next time. Happy reading!
Try this. Over the next week, take time off to go to a nearby creek and just sit there and listening to the bubbling sound of the water gliding over the rocks. Allow your thoughts to flow as well. If there are no nearby creeks and this is just not feasible for you, try getting one of those bubbling brook waterfalls that plug into an electrical outlet, download an mp3, or purchase CD. If money is tight, you can head over to YouTube and press play on the videos with the sound of water (just be careful of ad interruptions that may spoil this experience for you). Notice your feelings before the exercise and again after. For deeper clarity, journal about your experience and see what comes up for you.
"Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others. ~Marian Wright Edelman
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