You run through a parking lot yelling into your cell phone that you're running late; you obsessively check e-mail during a meeting; you jog with your iPod blasting; you watch the nightly news and collapse into bed. But you can't sleep-your thoughts are racing. If only you could turn off the noise in your head and get some sleep. Perhaps the endless noise in your head is the direct result of the endless noise in your world?
We can't do anything about the noise around us. It's everywhere-traffic horns, blaring TVs, radios, computer downloads, family squabbles and workplace demands. Even loud, public cell phone conversations are commonplace. This sensory overload and non-stop multi-tasking can lead to daily stress and anxiety. This stress is often ignored until it manifests itself with physical symptoms such as headaches and digestive disorders. Unmanaged, stress is an attack on our total body and may lead to mental disturbances, heart disease, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels and suppressed immunity. While we can't control the noise around us, the following techniques can help us filter out excessive stimuli.
1. Set Aside Time For Yourself Everyday. Even if it means getting up early or staying up 20 minutes later in the evening. Make time to be alone with your thoughts. Turn off your cell phone and TV. Practice breathing techniques, pray or simply allow yourself to be.
2. Practice Meditation. Discover the positive health benefits of meditation by learning techniques designed to still the mind and bring inner peace.
3. Cultivate A Garden. Gardening is a peaceful way to get great exercise outdoors while growing healthy foods to nourish the mind and body.
4. Limit Media Exposure. Spend less time surfing the internet and watching TV. Instead pick up a book you haven't had time to read or engage in meaningful conversation with family or friends.
5. Take a Walk. Instead of listening to music while walking, take notice of the trees and landscape around you. If you walk with a friend, practice mindful listening. Do not interrupt each other or finish each other's sentences. Allow silence to flow between the two of you. Don't try to fill in the silent gaps with mindless chatter.
6. Eat Healthy. Our bodies are better able to cope with stress when we are eating properly. Make sure you eat healthy, well-balanced meals everyday. You may want to add B vitamins such as B12, B6 and folic acid which may reduce elevated levels of homocysteine, which is associated with depression and cognitive decline. Another supplement that may help improve mood is SAM-e. Valerian may help with occasional sleeplessness and restlessness.
7. Evaluate the Relationships in Your Life. If you are spending time with loud and aggressive people who leave you feeling exhausted and sapped of energy, ask yourself what you are gaining from these draining relationships and consider spending less time with these individuals or none at all.
Turn down the volume in your life and you will be amazed at what you hear!