Clients have said to me, “There is so much noise going on in my head. I’m scared. I’m fearful of what our future holds for me and my family; with COVID, hurricanes, tornados, fires, the political unrest, riots, protests, and the economy. I’m just waiting for the next thing to happen.”
With gentle compassion, I asked, “Where is that noise coming from?” It is coming from alerts on the phone, the computer, tablets, social media, the television, the radio, the internet. Today we are inundated with more information in 15 minutes than in a full day just five years ago. IF, we are listening to it or looking at it.
When we allow ourselves to be constantly barraged with such information our brain goes on overload. We maybe striving to figure out what is true in one post, article, report when another one comes in that contradicts the one on which we are focused, or it might be a completely different subject. Then we may go down the rabbit hole following that alert. Sometimes forgetting what drew our attention first. Add to this the emails, texts and maybe phone calls from friends, family and strangers.
In the midst of all this noise and struggling to make sense of what one is hearing and seeing we generate thoughts that trigger feelings. These feelings trigger when one encounters a perceived threat such as the chaos one encounters on social media, the news, etc. Instantly the hypothalamus, a tiny area at the base of the brain, sets off alarm signals in the body. Through a combination of hormonal signals and nerves, the system triggers adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys, that releases a surge of hormones. These hormones include cortisol and adrenaline placing us in a state of hyper vigilance – on alert for the next thing to happen or the next alert to appear. This constant state creates stress and takes a heavy toll on our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being, thereby negatively affecting the way we behave and our relationships.
In allowing this barrage and reacting to it one gives away their personal power. It is essential to take back your power.
You have the power to silence the noise. You can learn to regulate and manage your emotions thereby managing the hormones released and lowering your stress level.
There are many coping mechanisms you may employ to do this.
First, turn-off – completely – all alerts that come through your electronic devices. Manage and take control of what you hear, see, watch and read. Then schedule your information receiving time and limit it to 20 to 30 minutes a day. For example, you might watch the evening news or listen to the radio at the top of the hour. By doing so you will catch the main headlines and can then select what you would like to further investigate. Then set a schedule and limit your investigation time. Doing this will keep you up to date on the most critical information and give you the power to decide what you choose to spend your time and energy responding to.
Second, you can begin a daily practice stilling your mind through meditation. According to Science Daily, meditation induces theta brain waves and activates areas of the frontal lobe associated with emotional regulation.
If you have never meditated before and are, possibly, unsure how to “do it”, this may trigger some anxiety or frustration. So begin with 5 minutes of sitting quiet and still with your eyes closed. Practice emptying your mind. If a thought comes, don’t fight it, relax into it, place it on a cloud in your mind’s eye and allow it to float on by. Try this at least two times a day to begin with and gradually build up to 10, then 15 minutes at a time. You might choose to listen to some soothing sounds. There any many apps you can download onto your phone that have built-in timers.
YOU HAVE THE POWER!