How noise can make you happier

How noise can make you happier

When I was young I loved visiting James house for a sleepover.

It wasn’t because his house was especially nice- it wasn't a dump, but it was a long way from Downton Abbey.

He didn’t live anywhere exciting like on a farm, in a town or beside a graveyard - it was just a bungalow in the middle of the sticks.

But for me, there was something special about his house.

Let me tell you about where I lived and maybe then you can guess why I enjoyed staying with James so much.

I came from a house with 7 children, three older and three younger than me.

Yeah, I was stuck in the middle of chaos.

And look, I loved my childhood but it was loud.

As well as 7 children, we had 2 very noisy dogs.

On top of this my father was a veterinarian so people would often bring their sick pets to the house. This would drive our dogs crazy, raising the already high decibel levels to an extreme.

So the reason why I loved going to James is pretty obvious - he was an only child. His house was an oasis of calm, tranquility and quietness.

Ahhh.. precious silence.

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How many times have you said to yourself “what I wouldn't give for just a little bit of peace and quiet”?

And while it’s possible to create a bit of quiet time for yourself every now and then, the fact of the matter is that we are nearly always surrounded by noise of some sort.

So the trick isn’t to get away from the noise- it’s to enjoy the noise, embrace it- let it in and appreciate it.

Easier said than done because it’s not as if you can just flick a switch.

But there is a short exercise that you can start doing right now that will help you not only enjoy the sounds that surround you but will also dramatically increase your overall well being and levels of happiness.

To start the exercise, simply sit in a comfortable position.

Then close your eyes.

Take a deep breath (slowly inhale through your nose and then slowly exhale through pursed lips).

Listen to the silence or whatever sounds are around you, engage with it and enjoy it.

If it’s silent, good for you- enjoy that silence.

If there are noises, think of a good thought or visualize a positive image that you associate with the noise, engage with it for 20-30 seconds and appreciate it.

The key here is engagement.

For example, if you hear traffic, you might visualize a person in their car or on a bus coming home from work, and this will lead to other images, maybe of that person going into their house, greeting their partner or children, and if you want, you can silently wish that person well.

Then you take another deep breath and open your eyes.

And you can do this for whatever sounds you hear.

For example, if when you close your eyes you hear a jackhammer, then think of the man wielding that jackhammer and the great work he’s doing, or maybe bring to mind the people who will be moving into the house being built.

Engage with whatever image comes to mind for 20 to 30 seconds and maybe silently send a message of goodwill.

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A lot of the sounds you’ll hear will be from your own house.

If, when you close your eyes, you hear your child crying, then maybe bring to mind your child's eyes, their smile, their face. Engage with the image, silently tell yourself how lucky you are to have this beautiful child and embrace the sound of her cries.

If you do this simple exercise a few times every week, what you’ll find is that within a week or 2 you train your brain to start tuning into and appreciating the sounds as well as the silence in your life, and this has a very positive impact on your well being and your levels of happiness.

And this isn’t just some hokey, feel-good, new age thinking.

This practice is based on breakthroughs in the field of neuroscience.

Research shows that whatever we repeatedly think, sense and feel gradually sculpts our neural structure.

This is called experience-dependent neuroplasticity.

In short, the brain can be shaped by whatever we decide to rest the mind upon. So if you keep resting your mind upon negative thoughts and worries, your brain becomes more susceptible to anxiety, depression, anger and a host of other negative feelings.

On the flip side, if you practice resting your mind on good things, like appreciating nature, appreciating the sounds and silence that surround you, tuning into your compassion, empathy, appreciating the people around you, setting positive intentions- then your brain will be shaped by these positive emotions.

The very notion that we can help shape our brain so that it will naturally tune into the good in our everyday lives is kind of mind-blowing.

I must admit, I was very skeptical when I first came across these theories. But over the years, as I researched, then developed and practiced these exercises, I can see first hand the tangible and very positive impact they’ve had on my life.

And don’t get me wrong- there are still times when I silently wish that I had a few moments of peace and quiet.

Like right now- as I’m writing this article my wife is hurrying the kids, getting them ready for school.

My eldest daughter is blocking my youngest daughter from getting into the bathroom, and it’s all getting pretty loud.

I’m finding it hard to concentrate.

But then I stopped writing for a few seconds and embraced the noise- it’s the noise of a regular, happy family and I realize how lucky I am. My 2 girls aren’t going to be young forever, and there will come a time when they’ve left the nest and I’ll no longer hear them fighting, laughing, bickering and joking around.

So I engage with the sound, I appreciate it and I silently express gratitude for it.

Yeah, James' house was great for a break, but I wouldn’t swap what I have for all the peace and quiet in the world.

Get Lite Mind for free: Embracing and appreciating the good in your everyday life is one of the central elements of Lite Mind, a breakthrough technique that helps you develop long term happiness.

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About the author

Caemin O Connor is a business owner, a husband and father to 2 beautiful girls.

After years of practicing and teaching meditation, he got frustrated and a little bored with it.

So he started researching and developing new techniques.

He focused on happiness, as he realized the real reason why people try meditation, or any form of self improvement, is because they simply want to be happier.

Caemin spent years studying happiness and the various techniques involved in harnessing it, from gratitude, to compassion, from mindfulness to savoring nature.

The end result is Lite Mind, a breakthrough technique for developing long term happiness.

Simply click on the button below and get a free Lite Mind exercise.

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