Enough with the noise, already!

woman standing in silence

You don't need to be on a gorgeous beach like this to be silent; you can have five minutes of noise-free peace in your own living room.

As I lay in bed this morning, snuggled under my down comforter up to my nose while the frost lay on the ground outside, I prayed for a little more silence before the day’s craziness began.

The sun had yet to come up and the morning was quiet—kids still asleep, no alarms buzzing off, no phones ringing, yet. (And no, I did not immediately get out of bed to exercise—as I intended to do; I was quite happy to ensconce myself in my covers!)

It struck me, though, how little time we have in silence these days. We wake up with a jolt to alarms or music or our phone ringing or vibrating (or a baby crying, which is the case with me these days). We spend most of the day

Party in My Crib 3:00 am onesie for babies

This is my reality these days, my baby waking up at frequent times during the night, which means I have to enjoy every moment of silence I can get!

with smartphones connected to us at every moment—even by our beds—offering plenty of sound options (apps, music, different ring tones, and more!); at work in meetings, talking to people; in the car with the radio on; watching TV at home. We never have to be quiet anymore. In fact, so many people are seemingly afraid of silence, needing to be at home with the TV or music on…background noise as we so often call it. I even find it hard to be in the car a minute or two without reaching for the radio control knobs. And I know I’m not alone.

We need to try to relish silence more—particularly as our world becomes even more full of noise. I’m not saying we have to be monks, abstaining from all our electronic gadgets and toys and living in noise-free harmony, but there are some things we can do to help clear our heads of the cacophony of sounds from our daily lives. The end goal: bring more silence into our days to help reduce the stress and anxiety that we shoulder—and give us time to just think already!

1) When you’re exercising outdoors, leave your iPod at home. I remember the first time I ran outdoors without music; it was early in the morning and it was so invigorating and inspiring. I actually thought about different things while listening to the birds chirp (imagine that!). Next time you go for a walk, run, or bike ride, take time to listen to nature. (It’s safer this way, too, as noise prevents you from being 100 percent attentive to what’s happening around you—and can result in accidents.) I also think this is one of the reasons I like swimming: there is silence in the pool other than the noise my hands make when they cut through the water. But let’s be honest, though, I cannot live without my tunes on the treadmill or elliptical; I’d be bored out of my mind!!

2) Get the TV/computer out of your bedroom. You’ll find that you may get to sleep more quickly—and sleep more soundly—as a result. (Studies also show that the flickering of TV or computer lights—if you use either before bed or fall asleep watching TV, as some people do—actually interferes with our ability to sleep deeply.)

3) Allow time in your day, regularly, for silence. I truly believe this is one reason why meditation is so powerful when it comes to keeping your body healthy. It’s not just about clearing your mind; it’s about doing so without noise.

4) Give yourself permission to shut off your smart phone. Just put it away; that way, it won’t vibrate every time a new message or text comes in; it won’t ring; and it won’t tempt you to check it every couple of minutes. This is a simple solution to the noise of being “wired” 24/7.

For better health, let’s all take more time for silence. It may be just as important as diet and exercise when it comes to taking care of our bodies!

Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.