It’s a busy, crazy world we live in. And noisy, oh so noisy. Do you ever feel like clamping your hands over your ears and just yelling stop?
I do, and it’s not only my introvert tendencies that make me feel this way.
It’s a different world now to the one I grew up in. Back in
my day, the eighties, life seemed so much simpler, but I guess every generation can say that can’t they?
Growing up I don’t remember what everyone else was doing, I just remember what I did. I had no idea what was going on in my friends’ lives apart from when we’d chat at school. I only knew about new music or movies as they were released and 6 o’clock news was how I learned what was going on in the world.
Now we seem to know everything about everyone one, everywhere. And we feel we have to share everything that’s gong on in our own lives. Because, well, that’s what everybody else is doing!
Phones in our hands all the time give us access to communicate not just with the one other person, but potentially millions of people at a time. Text, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, opinion news sites; so many ways to shout out to the world. And no, the irony of me writing this blog post, sharing my opinion and promoting on social media isn’t lost on me.
But what do you do when it just gets too loud? When you don’t want to know what the latest XYZ-gate controversy is, or what photo Kim Kardashian posted on Twitter, or what someone else got for their birthday, or what new dress or house accessory someone-you-don’t-know-from-a bar-of-soap-bought!
What do you do when you realise – none of it matters and you just don’t care!!!
The answer is quite simply to switch off.
1. Switch off social media
Sounds like a given, but hard to do. If you work on a computer, have a smart phone, tablet or laptop you are always connected, only a swipe or click away. Rejecting the impulse to check it, is hard, especially when it has become an ingrained habit. And especially when the FOMO (fear of missing out) is daunting.
What I do, besides the obvious logging out of Facebook, is I turn my notifications off.
Turn off messenger, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email notifications so that I have to physically log back in to check what’s going on. It eliminates being sidetracked by that little red circle on the corner of your Facebook app advising you have 10 notifications. Your brain starts to think ‘what if?’… “What if it’s important? What if its something I need to know? What if it’s something everyone else will be talking about at school pick up or the office????”
It’s crazy. Forget it. It’s not important. I promise.
2. Turn off the radio, music and TV.
Noise is something we are accustomed to. Me, I love to work with the radio or some music on in the background. But sometimes when I’m busy and sick of the noise I turn it all off. I listen to the sound of the keys as I type, the dull drone of a car passing by every now and then, the tinkering of birds feet on the tin roof, or the dog padding by on the concrete outside the window. Sounds that normally get lost in the noise of life, but sounds that make us realise how nice normal life can be. And you may even truly appreciate how calming silence can be.
3. Read some fiction
You’re not surprise I included this one are you?
Reading takes you away from the noise of your own life and transports you into the world of another. Sure it may be noisy there too, but the beauty is you get to observe from above. You are whisked away and drawn into a different life, a different reality where your focus has to be 100% on what is going on.
I know when I read I enter a sort of zone. I’d describe it like tunnel vision where my eyes and brain are my five senses. I can’t hear, see, touch, taste or smell anything around me as I’m totally consumed by what I’m reading. – Well, a good book does that, and it’s a perfect way to escape.
4. Stop adding to the noise
This my darlings is the most important one. Stop. Adding. To. The. Noise!
Step away from Facebook, put your phone down and resist the urge to tell everyone what is happening right now. Do it!
Sure you may have received a beautiful mother’s day gift, or your child may have said the funniest thing, or you cooked the best cake ever – enjoy it for yourself. Soak up that moment right there. Whether you are by yourself or with someone, focus on that moment and suck in to your brain with a full inhalation. The memory you imprint will be far more meaningful that if you posted a photo to Instagram. It really will.
5. Do something you love, noise-free
Go for a walk – without the ipod/iphone
Take a bath – no music, no book, just candles and bubbles (either or both variety)
Lay outside and watch the clouds or stars
Cuddle your kids in bed before turning off their light
Read a book
Go for a bike ride
Whatever! Just do it, noise and distraction free.
Turning down the volume of life is something we all need to know how to do, and something we all should practice more often. So, after you’ve finished reading and commenting on this blog post (eh…irony), go on switch off. I dare you.
How do you deal with the noise of life?