Back in the day, when I lived in Chicago, loud noises were all around me. The elevated train rumbled by my brownstone apartment, rattling the windows. Sirens were a never-ending presence. It was the cacophony of a big city. To “get away from it all” I would return to my small hometown in Michigan for the weekend. Back then, I thought that it was the hectic pace of city life that I was escaping.
Upon reflection, I wonder if I was actually trying to find respite from the noise.
Researchers have discovered that air and street traffic noise elevates our blood pressure while we sleep. Other studies suggest that traffic noise may increase the risk of stroke. Who knew? It’s been long known that loud sounds are tough on our hearing, but our blood pressure too?
Given this latest research, it seems to me that if you work in a loud place, you need to counter-balance the noise with some silence. You may not be able to do anything about the loud work environment, but you can take measures to get a little silence after you leave your job for the day.
- Go to the library. Many of them have “reading rooms” where talking is not allowed.
- Block out extraneous noise with a white noise machine.
- Research also shows that soft music reduces stress, so load some “chill” music on your ipod/mp3 player
- Try this experiment: turn off all the TV’s and music devices in your house. Sit in silence fo 15 minutes. How do you feel?
- Go for a walk where it’s quiet.
Try putting a little silence in your life and see if your stress level diminishes. Who knows? You may even like the newer, quieter routine.