Skip to main content

Three Tips For Finding Stillness In All The Noise

Sep 30, 2019 08:45AM ● By Briana Bragg
by Briana Bragg

In a world full of noise, technology, responsibilities and to-do lists, stillness can seem so far away and hard to find. As a society, we’ve cultivated a new normal where achieving and having more is the way of life, and finding time to take a pause seems taboo. Through years of training, our brains have learned to multitask and become comfortable at being busy. Technology advances keep us connected 24/7, increased responsibilities on the job and at home make it difficult to “turn off”, leaving us with noisy environments, cluttered minds and stress on the body.

This is affecting our internal systems. Our bodies are designed to create resilience and keep pushing forward even when there seems to be a threat to our environment. Imagine standing on the edge of a plane at 15,000 feet in the air, ready to jump into a freefall. The adrenaline pumping through the body in this moment is what gives the courage to take that leap. Sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach and heart racing are all signs of the anxiety the body is feeling. While this analogy might seem extreme for those that have never taken to skydiving, the reality is many of us are living in a state of ready to jump out of the plane 80 to 85 percent of our waking life.

External factors can keep our body in a state of existence, pumping adrenaline and cortisol through our system almost constantly and keeping us in a reactionary state. In recent studies, researchers found that noise keeps the body’s stress response system constantly activated. Noisy environments cause the body to produce more stress hormones which stimulate the amygdala, the part of the brain that contributes to emotional processing.

When noise levels are high, it is hard for the brain to process new information. Attention is taken away from the current environment to pay attention to the noise. Adrenaline and cortisol are released, causing physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, a spike in blood pressure and increase rates of depression and anxiety.

Stillness is the answer. The same research showing how disturbing noise can be to our mental and physical state also shows that finding two minutes a day for stillness significantly reduces stress hormones caused by noise pollution. Just two minutes a day has a big impact on how stress hormones impact our life. Research is also showing that spending two hours in stillness a day regenerates brain cells.

Three Tips for Finding Stillness in all the Noise

Breathwork

One way to find stillness is through breathwork. Breathing is a vital component to our health, it’s free and accessible anytime and anywhere. Focused breathing intentionally concentrates on the inhale and exhale, creating stillness and calming the central nervous system within moments. Inhaling and exhaling through the nose, breathing deeply into the abdomen versus the chest, is proven to relax and calm the central nervous system. A few deep breaths of this nature will bring the body out of fight-or-flight and into a parasympathetic state.

Aligning the inhale and the exhale is a great place to start, inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of four. If this is too easy, that number can be increased to a count of five.

The Darkness Technique

The darkness technique is designed to calm the monkey mind. This technique gets better with practice and is a mental exercise used in meditation to calm mind chatter, reduce thoughts and bring the mind to stillness. It requires practice to retrain the brain and reduce the number of thoughts in motion in the mind.

The darkness technique is stillness. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Now bring all your awareness to the darkness behind closed eyelids. When thoughts come in, thank them for being there and then let them go, bringing all your attention and awareness to the darkness behind your closed eyelids.

Practice extending the length of time. A timer can be set to keep time, so the mind is not wandering off to how long it has been.

Nature Sounds and Calming Music

Specific styles of music have been proven to calm brain waves relaxing the body and mind. Much research is currently being conducted on the affect music has on our body and brain. Frequency-based music and binaural beats are showing great results in calming brain waves, relaxing the mind and even beginning to show potential as a healing modality for the body.

In Joe Dispenza’s (DrjJoeDispenza.com) latest research, a study of 10 years shows that listening to two hours of calming nature sounds each day reduces stress by 800 percent. Listening to chirping birds or ocean waves can have a positive impact on our health.

In a world full of noise, with stress, anxiety and depression on the rise; when our mind chatter feels out of control, stillness is the answer. Simply finding a few minutes each day to make time for stillness by taking a few deep breaths and hitting pause benefits our health significantly.

Briana Bragg is a wellness industry leader specializing in meditation and mindfulness, and a speaker, author and coach. She is the founder of Vacation of the Mind, a guided meditation company designed to be practical and welcoming. For more information, email [email protected]d or visit VacationOfTheMind.com.