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“Noise”, its’ effect on your mental health and 4 ways to improve it

There is a lot in this new world that we cannot control, but we all have the power to control how we react and handle the situation at hand.

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Shutterstock

The “noise” we have been inundated with for the past few years is very different to the “noise” we are inundated with today. However, the repercussions of choosing to listen to “noise” are the exact same. Increased stress, anxiety and fear.

For the past few years, “noise” took the shape of telling us how we should look, what we should wear, how we should think, act and feel. It all boiled down to transforming who we truly are into what was deemed perfect (societal standards). Scrolling through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and choosing to listen to this noise would leave one feeling inadequate. The problem was that we had become so accustomed to this perpetual negative spiral of listening to the noise and trying to keep up. 

The “noise” we are experiencing today is all COVID-19 related. News, TV, online, social media – everything is focused on covid.

There is a fine balance of being informed and being inundated. Do you really need to hear about the exact number of confirmed cases, deaths, statistics, job loss, plummeting stock market, business closures and so forth – from 35 different sources at every moment of every day? Choosing to listen to all the noise today has the same effect – it leaves one feeling sad, hopeless, stressed and anxious. 

The good news is this: We all have the power to limit the “noise” and better still, be very selective on what we listen to.  Here are 4 ways to stay informed AND keep your sanity:

1. Limit Time for News – Select the time you will dedicate to being informed each day. Maybe it’s 30 minutes at lunch time or 15 minutes at the end of the day. For example, in early March I was not only constantly watching the news but every phone call, meeting and conversation seemed to be about covid. I noticed I was feeling very sad, helpless and just an overall “doom and gloom.” So, I made a new tradition that I’d only watch news for 30 minutes each day and post 5pm was a “corona-free” zone.

2. Limit Sources for News – Select the specific sources you will look to for information. Do you enjoy CNN? Or perhaps the Morning Newsletter from the New York Times? Maybe it’s Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah or Jimmy Kimmel? Choose a few sources that you trust for reliable information and leave it at that. 

3. Double down on anything that makes you smile or laugh. Take time to really understand and focus on what makes you smile. Is it cooking, watching comedians on YouTube, following people on social media that are uplifting, looking at adorable pictures of puppies and babies, watching a show like Some Good News with John Krasinski, listening to a certain kind of music? It’s impossible to feel sad if you are laughing and smiling.

4. Gratitude – It’s very easy to feel down these days. One of the easiest ways to transform your mind from negative to positive is to express gratitude. Every day, I write down 3 things that I am grateful for. It can be as simple as: I am grateful to see the sun shining today, I am grateful to be able to take a long walk in the fresh air, I am grateful to be fortunate enough to buy healthy nutritious food for myself. I have found that expressing gratitude allows my mind to move from stress and anxiety to calm and a sense of peace. 

COVID-19 has affected every single person around the world in one way, shape or form. I personally lost my job as an Enterprise Sales Executive in the Tech industry. It was a role I loved and suddenly, it was gone and I have no control over it.

There is a lot in this new world that we cannot control.  Yet, we all have the power to control how we react and handle the situation at hand. The tools to cope that work for you will be different from your friend, parent, colleague – and that is completely normal! Your mental well-being is the most important thing! You do what works for you! 

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