Unless you live on a deserted island or a dreamy country cottage far away from where real life typically takes place, you’re surrounded by noise. People chatting, the news streaming from a nearby TV, someone’s music blasting through their headphones, traffic, honks, trains, construction, dogs barking…you get the idea. It’s no wonder the voice in our heads has had to amp up the volume to be heard. The result? Noise inside + noise outside = confusion, stress, poopy moods.
Whereas most of our senses need to be re-engaged in order to bring us back to the present moment, our auditory sense is often already over-stimulated. Our only defense against the noise ambush we face daily is to pretty much block it all out and label even the most beautiful sound as white noise…giving our throughs even more room to scream, pout, and take over completely.
Your challenge this week is to re-wire your hearing filters and start allowing sounds of the present moment to seep through. This will require a conscious quieting of the mind, which is way easier said than done. Start by taking baby steps, setting aside a few minutes each day to practice. You can do this anywhere but I recommend stepping outside. Close your eyes and bring awareness to the sounds around you. Label each one of them, acknowledging that they are present right this second, and finish by focusing on the sound of your breath. This last one is always with you and can become a great tool to bring you back to the NOW anytime, anywhere you need.
Over time, you’ll learn to let the sounds you want in and allow them to take center stage (instead of always letting your thoughts take the spotlight.) Noticing the sound of leaves rustling, birds chirping, rain falling, or your spouse typing will bring a new level of richness to the experience we call life. You’ll be able to focus more fully in conversations and truly listen to what others are saying, improving communication skills and upping the level of satisfaction in your relationships.
Yeah, I’d say the benefits outweigh the costs. Go ahead, give it a go and let me know how it goes.