Week Seventeen: Reducing Noise
Most of us live noisy lives, filled with distractions.
Both online and off, there’s always a commitment needing to be honored, a task requiring completion, or an entity demanding our attention.
For some, being housebound during the Covid-19 pandemic, relying on digital tools more than ever before, has only made that noise even louder.
However, it IS still possible to carve out moments of peace and quiet for yourself.
Controlling daytime noise
The first step is to reduce the amount of noise that fills your days.
For most of us, that’s “work time,” and the noise is a byproduct of managing career commitments along with social obligations and family concerns.
One of the quickest ways to reduce daytime noise is to multitask less each day.
While it may feel like tackling a bunch of small projects on your to-do list all at once makes you more efficient, that’s actually not the case. Not only is multitasking a habit that causes noise and distraction, it…
- Is bad for your brain
- Reduces quality and productivity
- Can be dangerous
- Causes stress
- Affects your memory
- Lowers IQ
- Leads to increased distractibility
- Saps your energy
…in addition to a host of other problems.
It can be a hard habit to break though.
You can start by implementing some of the changes we’ve talked about in this eCourse — bringing some mindfulness to the tasks in which you’re engaged, decluttering your life of tools that aren’t providing value, and challenging and changing old habits.
Lean into the silence
You may also want to spend more time enjoying the moments of silence that naturally occur throughout your day, instead of automatically filling them with distractions like checking the weather, news headlines, Twitter, etc.
This could mean diving into some of the areas described in the Wellness Paradigm proposed in Week 10 or filling your time with “in the moment” alternate activities.
Start by simply connecting yourself to the four essential elements, even if it’s just for a few minutes. For example..
- Earth: Lay on the floor, touch your feet to the ground, or go hug a tree.
- Wind: Take a deep breath (or 3)
- Water: Drink a glass of water
- Fire: Spend some time in the sunshine.
The point here isn’t to get mystical, but primitive — to momentarily ground yourself in your life as it’s happening and remind yourself that you’re alive and have a body attached to all of that mental chatter and distraction.
Controlling nighttime noise
Additionally, you may want to reduce the amount of noise that fills your nights.
For most of us, that’s “rest time,” — when we most need to give our brains a break but often find it hijacked by noise and distractions.
In order to improve the quality of rest you receive each night it’s important to establish good sleep habits, (also called “sleep hygiene”). Hygiene tips that pertain specifically to your digital wellness include…
- Stop using screens more than 30–60 minutes before you go to bed, (this may also include switching them to “night mode,” or viewing them with blue light glasses on.)
- Avoid perusing content, websites, news before bed that emotionally “winds you up” or stresses you out.
- Remove electronics from your bedroom, (that includes not charging them overnight there either).
- Use old fashioned tools to help you sleep — like a white noise machine or alarm clock — instead of apps on your phone.
- Avoid using screens if you wake up in the middle of the night. Instead opt for analog pursuits like reading a book, writing in a journal, etc.
- Avoid checking your screens upon waking. Take a few moments to stretch, orient yourself to the day, or practice a morning ritual.
This week’s exercise
If your life is feeling noisy lately, assess the area where it is currently doing the most damage. (If it’s both during the day AND at night, just pick one area to work on).
- If your problem area is during the day, work on multitasking less or spending more windows of your day enjoying silence by connecting to the four essential elements.
- If your problem area is during the night, work on establishing better sleep hygiene by trying some of the steps suggested above.
Thank you for stopping by! Only three more weeks left in this eCourse. Next week we’ll talk about deeper blocks that might be preventing you from achieving digital wellness.
I look forward to seeing you then and hope you continue to be healthy and safe.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this course. Feel free to leave comments on any of the posts or email me at email@example.com if you’d like to share something privately.