1. Mute the commercials. Ever notice how commercials can often be annoying or irritating? Ever notice how noisy and intrusive they are? You’re not just imagining things. Whether it’s radio or TV, advertising by definition is designed to get your attention. Whether we realize it or not, the average person is bombarded with 3,300 commercials daily. And whether we consciously realize their presence or not, our brains have to process them. This may not sound like a big deal, but it adds up to a lot of mental clutter over time. The mute button is one of the most empowering tools ever devised. Bask in the silence. Turn to your loved one for some good conversation or a long hug instead.
2. Drive slow. My post on this is
coming soon is here.
3. Keep an eye on what you’re watching and listening to. Certain movies or music can produce different brain waves that can put you into an altered mental state, one of aggression. For most people it’s subtle, but over time, we’ve seen the results of violent action-packed movies and music to match. Society has gotten crappy. Really. People tailgate each other, think nothing of flipping each other off, etc. People think nothing of making excessive noise or doing what they please. By and large, we’re not pissing on lamp posts yet, but give us time…
Cultivate evolved tastes of the upper eschelon, such as acoustic guitar music, mellow adult contemporary, sultry modern lounge music, or some dreamlike ambient dub with some traditional ethnic/world music flare.
4. Eliminate clutter in your home and workspace. This goes back to the fact that your brain must process everything it sees, whether it wants to or not. And again, this may not be noticeable unless your house resembles Jeff Foxworthy’s having “mowed the lawn and found the car”. The effects really add up if it stays that way for a while. Life is much more calm if your surroundings are simple. I’m not advising you to live like a monk, although that wouldn’t be a bad idea. But if there is stuff strewn all over the place, I know I can’t exactly think straight. I feel much better when it’s been straightened up.
5. Along the same lines, consider the decor of your home. Are the colors on the wall too brash and bold? Red tends to increase blood pressure. And it makes you eat more. Are they too dark? This can lead to subconscious depression. Is the wallpaper pattern too chaotic? This can increase stress. What about the lighting? Are your light bulbs the new bitey “going green” kind that will eventually drive you insane, or are they the nice incandescent power-gulping but sanity-saving kind that you can actually see by? Floor plan – too open? Too closed? “Cozy” sounds cute in the ad listing when you were shopping for your home, but do you find your shoulder thunking against the wall as you try to round a corner or enter through a doorway? Good earthy colors and incandescent lighting is boring to some, but soothing. You can always spice things up by adding your own accents such as throw pillows, blankets, wall art, or table coasters.
6. Do what you love, for work. If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I heard somewhere that 85% of the population hates their jobs. There is really no excuse for that. Yes, really. Life is simply too short to spend 1/3 of it doing something you don’t particularly like. There is such a variety of different occupations out there – go find one that suits you! Don’t worry about the money. Really. If you like what you do, the money will find you. If not, just marry a spouse with a stable job! Just make sure s/he likes his/her job, too. 🙂
7. Get regular massage therapy and chiropractic adjustments. People know they float out of the massage therapist’s studio, but did you know that you also float out of the chiropractor’s office after an adjustment? This is because both (especially the chiropractic) stimulate neurological pathways that actually relax you. For real. Massage therapists see 25% of the population. Chiropractors see less than 10% of the population. Considering the stress level of the world and especially this society, shouldn’t these numbers be higher?
8. Get enough exercise. It doesn’t have to be “hi, I’m a yuppie in a cute suit who does yoga to sound impressive around the watercooler”, nor does it have to be “burn 10,000 calories a second or die! Towanda!” But even moderate physical activity stimulates neurological pathways (yes, those again) that feed your centers of higher mental function, and inhibit animal tendancies that manifest as runaway temper, intolerance of other people and self-centeredness.
9. Avoid sugar, caffeine, and MSG. Yes, this takes some of the fun out of eating–until you consider what you’ve been missing! The truth is, natural foods actually taste better. Various chemicals added to our foods modify the neurological impulses in our brain and re-wire them to crave the substances. Essentially, these are addictive substances. They’re unregulated and they carry no warnings, so everyone thinks they’re safe. But the truth is, they’re not. Sugar produces an adrenal surge, leading to anxiety and the perception of stress on a body-mind level, throughout your whole system. Caffeine does the same thing. MSG excites your nerve cells literally to death, and over time people develop decreased mental function and autoimmune disorders, where the body literally attacks itself.
10. Take time for yourself. This means learning to say “no”. Our plates can only be so full. At some point, you must draw the line and say “enough”. People may want you to do this or that, and if you can, great. But if not, don’t stress yourself worrying about it or trying to pack it in to your already-busy schedule. Take time to breathe. To do what you want to do. To do nothing at all. To have a day at the spa or the mall. To go for a walk and listen to the birds. To spend with your loved ones. To bask in the silence. 🙂