Ah, “The Sounds of Silence,” how we long for them…

      I am sure there’ve been times when you just couldn’t stand some jarring sounds in your vicinity, which were jangling your nerves and disturbing your peace of mind.

     “Noise in the System” is used to describe an engine, program or organization which isn’t working as seamlessly as it should. Similarly, we humans sometimes experience disturbing sounds which make our own internal “systems” function poorly.   

     The decibel levels in some cities can at times reach deafening crescendos. Loud roars of truck engines or squealing brakes, motorcycles, buses, planes, trains and muscle cars; shrill sirens of police cars and ambulances; rock or heavy metal music blaring; leaf and snow blowers, buzz saws, earth movers, jack hammers and concrete drills: These noises can disturb a person’s equanimity and well-being, especially when they are relentless and incessant.

      Another form of “noise pollution” has nothing to do with mechanization, but stems from people themselves in their words or tones of voice. The prevalence of rudeness and incivility in everyday life seems to be increasing. We hear raised voices and arguments in politics, on radio and television and certainly in the social media. Loud conflicts and confrontations, angry put-downs, outbursts of yelling, and threats and rage are used by many politicians, television pundits and sadly, by common citizens.

       Still another form of ambient noise results from the 24/7 news cycle in the media. No sooner than we are upset by a major political scandal, this can soon be followed by a tragic natural disaster, just prior to a horrendous terrorist attack, followed a report of atrocities in one of many wars raging on this planet.

       These kinds of negative stimuli affect us at the same time as we’re coping with the usual challenges and stressors of life, like children, relationships, fiscal pressures, illness and frenetic schedules.

      The end result of continuous assaults on our sensory receptors causes internal “noise” in our personal systems of consciousness and feelings. We react to these noises via our physiological sensations (blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rhythms, digestive system functioning, headaches, taut muscles), and in our psychological responses (tension, anxiety, distractibility, irritability, mood swings, confusion).  

       Our auditory and visual perceptions and our cognitive circuits become over-stimulated and overwhelmed. Our minds race, concentration is difficult, sleeping suffers, thinking is laborious, and we’re prone to anxiety and mood lability.

       So, how do we “turn off the noise” and achieve internal “Sounds of Silence”? People have long been searching for relief from sources of cacophony.   

      Though none of the following remedies for internal noise abatement works for everybody, they are all tried and true for some. Here are some proven “escapes” from troublesome stressful noise that people use to relax, heal and rejuvenate (all in moderation):

Verdant, Pastoral Settings…

Mountains, Deserts, Vistas…

Oceans, Rivers, Lakes…

Melodic Music-Making, Listening, Singing…

Intimacy, Close “I-Thou” Relationships

Meditation, Mindfulness

Swimming, Water Sports

Walking, Running, Hiking, Climbing…

Biking, Spinning…

Camaraderie, Communing with Friends…

Films, Plays, Concerts…

Board Games, Cards…

Spas, Massages, Baths…

Hobbies, Crafts, Bird Watching…

Gardening, Flora, Growing Vegetables…

Yoga, Tai Chi, Stretching…

Educational Classes, Learning…

Sports, Gym Exercises, Dance…

Relaxation Techniques, Breathing Exercises…

Bio-Feedback, Auto-Hypnosis

Visualization/Imagination Techniques…

Religion, Spirituality, Faith Healing…

Group Emotional or Therapeutic Experiences…

Art Appreciation, Painting, Sculpting…

Reading, Writing, Prose, Poetry…

Participation and Activism…

Mindful Eating, Nutrition, Sleeping Practices…

Laughter, Humor, Amusement…

Volunteering, Doing For Others…

Contemplation: Appreciation, Gratitude, Forgiveness

Being, Belonging, Believing, Benevolence…

Integrative Medicine

Various Psychotherapies, Counseling

Marijuana, Cannabis, Wine…

Psychotropic Prescription Medication

Above All, Smell the Flowers…

Postscript:

“Slow Down, You Move too Fast, You Got to Make the Mornin’ Last” (Simon and Garfunkle, “Feeling Groovy”)…

"Taking It Easy" (The Eagles)…

“Noises Off” (Michael Frayn)…

“Turn Off Your Screens”…

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