I sometimes feel that life is too ‘loud’. The ‘noise’ is all around me – stress, distractions, and other non-essentials that seem to happen when life goes about being life.
- Sometimes, the noise is at work. Deadlines, meetings, contradicting thoughts and ideas, and shifting priorities all get in the way of a smooth flow and weekly progress.
- Sometimes, the noise is at school. Pages and pages of readings, assignments, and exams can be too much to take, while still trying to balance a healthy work life and personal life.
- Sometimes, the noise is in my personal space. Every day presents a hosts of new challenges and decisions, all requiring my time and energy. The number of daily commitments to myself and to others sometimes makes me feel a bit stretched thin. And my ever-present need to learn, grow, and still find and maintain my own identity (which itself is in question some days) can take a toll.
Life, unfortunately, does not have a volume button or a mute button. But what life does give us is a variety of ‘earphones’ we can use to either focus or filter the ‘noise’ and deal with it more appropriately, or to turn down the ‘noise’ when we need a break. There are a few ‘earphones’ that I use on a regular basis:
- Running or yoga. I find exercise of almost any type to be an effective means of dampening the noise, if only for a few hours. The biggest upside is, once I’m done, I feel more refreshed and able to focus than I was before I started.
- Music. When there is too much ‘noise’ in my head, I drown it out with a great song or album. This sometimes involves toe-tapping and even (bad) singing. But it works!
- Writing. I think the ‘noise’ can get so loud because there is nowhere for it to go. So I give it an outlet – a pen and a piece of paper. I can actually feel the stress flowing out of my mind as I make to-do lists, re-organize priority lists, or jot down thoughts about who I am, where I want to be in my life, etc. Somehow, when all the thoughts have somewhere to go, they become muted.
Everyone has different ‘noise’ filters that work for them. I think it’s important to find at least one, because we have all been there… The “stop the world I want to get off” moment; or the moment where we sigh to ourselves and say “there are not enough hours in the day!”
Changing the world or the circumstances around us may not be an option… but turning down the noise is.