When life gets noisy, turn down the volume

By Alice Inoue Posted in: Go Ask AliceImprove

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I recently heard the term “noise clutter” and wondered if this is something that you could address through feng shui. My family likes to keep the TV on even when no one is watching it and I feel much better when it is off. Can you comment on the effects of noise?

Many recent studies indicate how noise in the environment affects health, well-being and stress. Studies show that by decreasing the amount of negative noise we allow in our lives, we dramatically can increase our ability to focus.

Harvard studies show that noise can lead to a negative reality, limiting your potential. Science now shows that by decreasing the flood of noise your brain receives by just five percent, you substantially can improve your ability to tune in to more positive signals, leading to more success in life.

Noise is defined as not just what is audible, but what you are exposed to in the form of information — as useless information is like “noise” to the brain.

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Noise addiction

Noise has become an addiction in today’s world of technology — TV, iPods, iPads, smart phones and computers — all easily accessible and often either playing in the background or monopolizing our minds.

Many don’t realize how much negative information we read or listen to. Just imagine you are at a party and someone says, “Hi! Did you see the car accident on the freeway? It’s crazy how many accidents this city has had this week, not to mention the shootings in Chinatown. Oh, I see you are drinking vodka. Do you have any idea how many brain cells you are killing by drinking this evening? And by the way, I just saw all this information about how people your age are getting sick more than ever before…”

What would you do? You would likely excuse yourself, but interestingly, we have trouble ignoring negative information, whether relayed in a newspaper, computer, TV or radio.

How to decrease noise intake

Studies have shown that being conscious of your daily noise consumption and making simple changes in habit can reduce negative stimuli, making a substantial positive difference. Even if you are unable to control all the noise, you can incorporate a few of the following tips to decrease your noise intake.

• If you are alone in the car, leave the radio off for the first five minutes, and if you are with someone, turn the car radio off and have a quiet conversation. • Mute all TV commercials and skip any Internet commercials. • When working, listen to no music at all or music without lyrics. • Limit watching prediction news, which can set you up to stress about things that may or may not happen.

Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly educational establishment at Na Lama Kukui (formerly known as Gentry Pacific Design Center) on Nimitz Highway. At Happiness U you’ll find dozens of inspiring classes all geared toward personal growth, helping you live a more purposeful and ease-filled life. YourHappinessU.com.