It seems incredible the amount of noise out there on the streets of our cities across the nation!

Protests and marches, demonstrations and even riotous behavior, terror on our streets with gang shootings, constant news about international and local tension, and the frightful weather that triggered multiple traffic pile-up on our highways.  Such an unquiet time we are experiencing so soon in late 2016 and early 2017!

What’s happening? Without attempting to over-simplifying the emotional climate of events, there is an underlying distrust and fear that appears to be pervading society both at home and abroad.  Fundamentally, fear triggers distrust, which in turn evokes anger, whether unconsciously felt or openly expressed.

We have a built-in alarm system, not just in our psyche but likewise in our physiology. Our brain is equipped with a signaling device called the amygdala that picks up emotional promptings especially of fear and mistrust, warning the body to be on alert to pending danger.  This in turn sets up our defense response to stand our ground or run to safety. It’s an immediate, nanosecond reaction that gives us no time to think about the kind or quality of the danger. It just happens. Thought comes only after the rest of the brain catches up with the amygdala.

If our circumstances continue to alarm us, we can move from an occasional state of fear to a condition of a trait of fear where we are habitually jumpy as in having a habit of being fearful.  This is damaging to the brain and can cause a pervasive free floating anger about life and people in general, leading to possible irritability and/or depression. It’s time to stop and “smell the flowers.”

How do we manage this? Here are a few of simple and easy suggestions.

  • Take a daily walk. Walking stimulates important blood flow so that one gets a feeling of energy. Good blood flow cleanses the body, brain, and mind. You think more clearly after a healthy walk, which should be brisk as if in a hurry to get somewhere quickly.  It’s not jogging, just a slightly pushed pace.  Walking can remedy depression.
  • Get the sleep you need. Today there are too many people who are sleep deprived. Sleep deprived people make mistakes; driving while drowsy is comparable to driving under the influence.  Loss of sleep usually makes a person impatient and irritable.  Such people are not easy to live with.
  • Listen to music, especially soothing music rather than rock or rap. Music affects the brain in a healing way through a variety of electric waves, particularly the alpha wave. Quiet and harmonic music calms the brain and soothes the nervous system. It has a magic, balmy effect on our minds and sense of well-being.
  • Most of all, meditation is an enriching daily activity that sets a person right with self and the world. Meditation is quiet time between thoughts, as explained by Deepak Chopra. He claims that we have many thousands of thoughts that are the same from one day to the next. Meditation uses the space between thoughts to help stop the thinking and quiet the distracted mind by the tranquility of focused attention on one’s breathing or a soft repeated mantra to help maintain the peace of that vacant space between our inane thoughts.  Meditation is mind healing balm in a noisy world.

Noise is part of our modern life; our electronic gadgets bombard our ears with so many different vibrations that this generation suffers hearing loss.  We are addicted to hearing stuff 24/7 with no time off to just sit and reflect. Noise invades our important sleep time. Even vacations are filled with noise.  It’s time to shut out the noise and just be quiet. Try visiting a library or a church for some quiet time each day along with one of the suggestions above.  You will live longer. Peace.