By Jeff Wax, LCSWR
As we celebrate International Noise Awareness Day today, I’d like to put the spotlight on emotional health and wellness. Here are my thoughts on how you can rein in negative emotional noise when it gets to be overwhelming at times.
Finding a respite from our inner noise
Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity. – Lao Tsu
Noise is all around us. The sounds of building construction, rumbling subways, cacophony of people, the 24-news and social media alerts all bombard our lives. At times this might feel exciting, while at other times this can feel emotionally overwhelming and draining. Don’t we wish we could sometimes magically turn it all off!
Noise also takes the form of real worries about health, family, finances, or work predicaments. All around us is the world we live in and the everyday realities of government activity, social ills, natural or man-made disasters.
One most insidious noise is negative emotional noise, in the form of the unforgiving stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves. These stories ruminate inside our heads and hearts.
Power of stillness and quiet
What is healthy in dealing with all these formations of noise is the need to find respite and turn down the noise. Here, there is the opportunity to discover our ability to experience the power of quiet. When we allow ourselves to pay attention, engage in the purposeful effort of turning off the noise, we truly take care of ourselves.
Finding a sense of quiet and peace can be achieved through formal or informal rituals including meditation, one’s own spiritual practice, or simply by getting involved in what brings you pleasure. Take a walk in nature, read a good book, exercise, cook, knit or clean up – whatever you do that brings on feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.
Connecting with truer parts of ourselves
Finding time to create situations that force a separation from life as we have been living it allows us to reconnect, discover an inner quiet and perhaps a feeling of being present in our lives. In this way we aren’t so consumed with our inner noise and can connect with truer parts of ourselves.
Sounds good to me!
Jeff Wax, LCSWR
Director, Baker family Emotional Health and Wellness Center
Center for Hearing and Communication