Noisy honestly doesn’t begin to describe the world we live in. Constant social media notifications, emails, calls and texts, never ending negative news, and modern day metropolis consume our our attention. We live in a world of physical, mental, and emotional noise.
I’ve come to realize over the past 6 months that the more connected I am to the things that create noise in my life, the more disconnected I am from reality.
Social media, is the largest source of noise in my life. I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Social media lends to the perception that others’ lives are better than our own. Reality is that life will always have ups and downs. The current trend in our world is to view everyone’s highlights on social media and then compare it to our day to day monotony or moments that are less than perfect. We have our own highlights, but our perception is so disconnected from reality that our focus is on the comparison of our lives to others’, not on the whole picture.
I’ve also come to realize how much of my stress stems from the news. I don’t believe in being completely uninformed with what is going on in the world, however, I also don’t need to absorb the negativity of the news on a daily basis. As someone who is highly empathetic, it is difficult for me to watch harsh realities multiple times, especially in cases where I have no power or control to improve those situations. It wears on my emotions and therefore wears on my ability to stay focused and centered throughout the day.
I also struggle with the expectation to be in constant communication with others via email and text messages. There is an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation to answer every ping as quickly as possible. If you are always answering to forms of communication then you are never present in the moment. You are allowing your life to pass you by in order to appease someone else’s expectations.
It’s no secret that over time, all of these forms of noise will leave you drained. When does it end? Where will we draw the line? Bottom line, focusing on noise means I’m not focusing on my purpose! Almost everyone I know talks about being anxious and overwhelmed. In the past I have spent an excessive amount of time and energy focusing on this anxiety. Striving to live intentionally is changing my focus away from the symptoms of anxiety, and instead to my daily actions that contribute to it.
I have found a few antidotes to help shut out the noise so that my soul can recharge:
- I read a book for 15 mins in the morning while I drink my coffee instead ofwatching the news. Sometimes I read a devotional, sometimes a blog, and sometimes a personal growth book. I find that not allowing anything negative into my mind first thing, helps me to set the day off on a positive foot and helps me stay centered throughout the day.
- I installed an app on my phone called Moment, that tracks my screen time daily. If you start tracking something then you raise awareness of your actions and this almost always helps decrease your consumption. I will admit, I still have room to improve in this area, but progress and awareness are the goal, not perfection.
- I moved Facebook and Instagram to the last page of apps on my phone. It takes me more time to get to those apps now. This way I am choosing to get on them rather than accessing them out of habit.
- I will do a 48 hour social media detox from time to time. Every once in a while, taking a couple of days to disconnect completely helps me to refocus. Deleting the apps from my phone helps me not to fall into the habit of checking social media out of boredom.
- I spend at least 5 minutes on my lunch break in either prayer or meditation. Shutting my mind off for a few minutes in the middle of the day allows me to refocus and relax.
- I’ve started doing a few short sessions of yoga per week. I use the Down Dog app and I really like it. You can select the difficulty of your practice as well as the length of the practice. If you are a beginner, like me, then you will appreciate the pictures and spoken guidance that the app gives.
- I set really clear boundaries with myself as to what time to shut the tv off at night and go to sleep. Rest is crucial for our productivity and our emotional stability. We all know this, yet it can evade us at times. Continued noise is the last thing that we need to wrap up our day.
I hope that you will give some thought to what the loudest noises are in your life. What small steps can you take to quiet your world and let your soul recharge? I love hearing what others find valuable and what creates a quiet, and purposeful life for them.