Noise is a source of stress that gets scant attention given its very real consequences. A large proportion of the world population lives in extremely noisy environments. The World Health Organization has called attention to this growing problem and how noise affects quality of life. Besides varying individual levels of annoyance and feelings of hopelessness, noise pollution is also tied to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, inadequate sleep, poor attention, and difficulty with problem-solving.
I am fortunate to have the ability to choose where I live and work. And over the years, I have gained some understanding about how environmental noise affects my mood. When immersed in sensory overload from noise, I can quickly move into a flight-or-fight stance. This autonomic response has recently been triggered by the traffic, including heavy machinery, that has been redirected down our street the last three months due to road construction. I have had to begin to identify ways to mitigate the related stress.
Like much of my personal wellness, awareness is a necessary tool. If I can identify mounting stress, I have options. Music has always been one way I have been able to navigate unwanted sounds. By focusing on harmony, I can override less desirable sounds. But I also find that a change of venue is simply needed. When possible, I remove myself from over-stimulating settings and situations. A brief reprieve from sensory overload does wonders. And living in an area conducive to getting outside for exercise is instrumental to my well-being and soothing to my senses.ere to edit.
borrowed from the September 14th Behavioral Health and Wellness Program Newsletter.