Based on the feedback we’ve received from all of you, we’ve listed some of the most annoying, disturbing, disruptive sounds and created a poll to vote for the most disturbing, headache inducing noise. Vote on the sidebar now. We want to find out what wins and then how to find ways to manage it or get rid of it!
Your mission should you choose to accept it: sit alone, in silence for 15 minutes, no phones, no music, no people, no distractions, everyday for the next 3 days. And it starts TODAY. Find a time that’s suitable for you, but not before bed. It needs to be during the day or in the early evening.
Where you want to do this is up to you but it needs to be as quiet as possible (meaning you can’t hear people talking, traffic passing by, footsteps, music, etc.). There needs to be no distractions, so your phone needs to be off and no music playing. If you need your phone to keep track of 15 minutes, put it on airplane mode and move it out of reach and out of sight. Be aware of the space you choose, make sure there won’t be people walking by or cars driving past.
Some suggestions for where to do this:
– In a quiet room with the door closed (let everyone know not to disturb you if this will be a problem).
– In a secluded spot at the park or inside a building, try not to be in an area where there’ll be traffic or people passing by.
– In the car with everything switched off, parked in a quiet, secluded place.
The main aim is to find a spot with as little noise as possible, as close to silence as possible. You want to clear your mind and not be thinking about distractions around you, you need to fill the space with just your own presence and nothing else.
At the start of the 15 minutes, take a deep breath. Relax your mind, unlock your neck, shoulders, knees and ankles. Try not to think of anything specific (don’t look at the clock), if thoughts come, acknowledge them in your mind with a ‘mmmmm’, try not to push them away. If you find it hard to stop your mind turning, focus on an aspect of yourself; follow your breath, the creases on your finger or the material on your clothing or your shoes.
When the 15 minutes is up, take a deep breath, try to let the resonance of how you feel stay with you for as long as possible.
If someone asks you what you were doing, or if you’re ok, tell them you were on a noise diet 🙂 Remember consistency is key. Congratulate yourself on completing day 1 of the challenge!
A power blackout. Yes. Power blackouts can prove to be the most calming, connected, productive and creative silence that you’re forced into. I recently found myself in a 2.5 hour blackout at home on a windy night. Usually at this time, my family and I would have finished dinner. I’d be sitting in the dining room in front of my laptop with my mum sitting in the kitchen in front of her iPad. The TV would be on to fill in the background but no one would be watching. That night the electricity went, we rang the electricity company and they said it’d be an hour’s long wait (that ended up being 2.5 hours). Great, I thought. With no internet, no TV, my mum and I sat there busily lighting up candles around the room, looking through the windows to see if by chance any of our neighbours had any electricity, checking the door was locked. After that, there was nothing to do. We sat together around the dining table surrounded by candles and the sound of the wind outside. And that was a moment I won’t forget. The sheer silence, the absence of having to do something but just sitting there in silence in each other’s company. I felt a connection to my mother that I hadn’t felt for years. We talked but it was not in the usual hurried way, there was a calmness and sincerity that felt so comfortable.
This was brought to mind after one of our followers Magna drew that beautiful and inspiring picture below, the result of a power blackout. So bring on the blackouts! Or make your own ‘blackout’ by shutting everything down and lighting candles around the room. It’s quite magical without all that noise.
Photo courtesy of Magna Chan.
Using your smartphone, you can help with noise pollution in your city. NoiseTube is a research project in the form of a mobile app available on the iOS and Android platform which you can download and use to measure the amount of noise in your locale, tag it and upload it to the online server to create a collaborative noise map which others can view. Using a participatory approach through the input of the general public, the app creates a huge array of data that can be far more detailed than official versions.
So far the app has been downloaded by 10,000 people with 2,700 registered on the NoiseTube website. The website provides users a place to look up their locale and find more information about the noise levels in their neighbourhood.
Watch a demo of the app here:
1. You show that you care about a viewpoint other than your own.
2. You demonstrate patience.
3. You become a team player.
4. You prevent yourself from making assumptions or jumping to conclusions.
5. You broaden (rather than narrow) the discussion.
6. You ask better questions.
7. You show support.
8. You become genuinely interested in other people.
9. You become more connected with others.
10. You become ‘present’.