I am the victim of the times–surrounded by constant stimulation, whether it be text alerts, social media, murmuring television or radio in the background, people talking to me, at me…the absolute dreaded phone call.
As someone who leans so far into the introvert category, I could easily spend a solid week (or more?) completely alone, without talking to a soul. I absorb quiet like a tonic I can drink, like a vapor I can smell.
I need quiet like I need food, water, air.
But I am rarely immersed in quiet. It is so rare, in fact, that I feel like my mind is under constant assault. And if I do stumble upon moments of silence, I’m hyper vigilant over what might come next–who will knock at the door? who will text and need something? who will send me an email with an invitation to a cocktail party I want to want to go to, but I likely won’t because of my social anxiety and my yearning for quiet?
I feel like I’m in constant chaos. Constant fight or flight mode, and it’s wearing down my mental fortitude.
Do you feel the same? How does being an introvert in a loud and boisterous world affect you? What are some tips you can share to help those of us struggling?
For me, my tips are to:
Embrace silence at every possible opportunity. Turn off the radio. Close the curtains. Turn off social media and the internet (which though not usually creating too much noise, adds to the chaos of an unquiet mind).
Go for a walk. This can be a problem if you’re like me and feel uncomfortable stopping and talking to neighbors. But I put my headphones in, sunglasses on, and I motor down the sidewalk with my pup, Lila. Plan for the worst-case-scenario (which isn’t all that bad, now is it?) and visualize yourself running into a neighbor and you don’t want to be rude so you stop and chat. It’s okay. Pat yourself on the back and move on (or run home and hide).
Surround yourself with nature. No headphones. No cell phone. No noise other than the singing of birds, the chirping of crickets, the soft blowing breeze through spring’s luscious leaves. Sound poetic? It is, and it can work.
When all else fails, take a bath. If you’re at work or school and a bath isn’t an option, plan for that bath. Visualize the steamy water. The candles. The soaps and lotions and loofahs. Think about what book or magazine you’ll read, or soft music you’ll listen to. When you get home, make sure you take that bath. If you’re surrounded by family or live with friends, see #5 which can help with all manner of noises.
Get a noise machine. I have trouble falling asleep because every little sound jumpstarts my thoughts, my heart, my fight or flight syndrome (usually flight). These nifty little machines which you can purchase on amazon (therapists use them the world over to enhance privacy during sessions) will shave the edge off the chaos.
Please share your tips and tricks on how to survive in today’s chaotic world, and how you quiet your mind.
Here is a parting quote by Rumi, “Let silence take you to the core of life.”
That beautiful. That simple.