Thursday, March 15, 2012

Radio Silence

My bad for not posting sooner. It has been sunny out, and, well I've been enjoying some quiet.

It all started when I was reading an article in Women's Health while elipticizing in a bass-pumping, grunt-filled gym. Essentially, this article claims that too much noise in one's life can have detrimental effects on one's body, and that even moments people perceive as "quiet" are really filled with noise. Traffic, shrieking birds, overheard iPod songs, and even casual conversations can harm not only your ears, but your total stress level. This in turn weakens your immune system and raises your blood pressure. Even if you don't feel stress, your body still registers all of these noises as stress and subtly bears the brunt of the impact.

I'm a loud person. I can't whisper, I love the chaos and bustle of both city living and my job in a junior high. But something about this article really forced me to sit up and pay attention. Even when I'm by myself, I enjoy reading with the tv or radio on in the background. I've spent so much of my life surrounded by noise and chaos, that I'm uncomfortable with the silence. I feel my body relaxing, but my mind just can't follow suit.

So, I did a little experiment. The last three days in Chicago, the sun has been shining, and yesterday we even hit a record 80 degrees unheard of degrees. In March. Freaking awesome. Starting on Monday, I turned the radio off on my way home or to the gym. I didn't get on my phone, I didn't start tapping my fingers. I just forced myself to be quiet. And it was heavenly.

Once I made the space for my brain to adjust to the quiet, my mind started appreciating. I really thought about the way the sun felt on my shoulders. I really noticed all the cute little kids kids clutching their doe-eyed mothers' arms. I felt thankful for what I have, and how far I've come professionally and personally in the last year. I started thinking about my friends, and resolved to make more of an effort to spend time with them. My Monday experiment has turned into a daily habit. For forty uninterrupted minutes, I make a conscious effort to eliminate the noise I have control over, and in the process, I can feel a difference. This "me" time has translated into a more productive self at work, and a calmer wife at home.

Have you ever tried to eliminate the noise in your life? Have you ever intentionally thought about the noises surrounding you? Or am I just a crazy hippie liberal?

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