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Quieting the Mind: Creating Ways to Minimize Stress in Chaotic Times


Quieting the Mind: Creating Ways to Minimize Stress in Chaotic Times

Is it difficult for you to find peace and quiet in your world today? In the last few years, we’ve endured civil unrest, political turmoil, global recessions, and the worst public health crisis in the modern era. It’s a lot. No wonder, then, that we’re all feeling pretty exhausted and more than a little stressed out.


The effects are impacting our physical and mental health. Unfortunately, studies are now showing the prevalence and severity of psychiatric disorders, ranging from depression and anxiety to addiction, have surged in the face of widespread and long-lasting COVID-related lockdowns (1, 2, 3, 4).


In short, we are less emotionally resilient and less secure than we might once have been. Consequently, we are more anxious and more reactive. In response to such long-term stress, we have become hypervigilant, hyperaroused, and hypersensitive. We have become almost habituated to living under the fight or flight response.


Stress, and the often unhealthy ways our mind and body respond to it, certainly did not begin with the pandemic, nor will it end with it. Indeed, for many of us, COVID has merely served to amplify the physical, mental, and environmental conditions in which we live, the noisy static that infringes on our homes, our workplaces, and, ultimately, our hearts, minds, and spirits.


Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s possible to quiet your mind and calm your nervous system even in the most turbulent times.


How Clutter & Noise Impact the Stress Response


Whether you are an architect, contractor, acoustic engineer, or simply a homeowner, you are already probably acutely aware of the profound role that your environment plays in both your physical and emotional health. For instance, research shows that cluttered environments can significantly increase your risk for developing severe neurological and psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and even memory impairment and cognitive decline (5, 6).


The evidence further suggests that the very real, substantial, and varied impacts of clutter can be attributed to the neurological overstimulation that such a chaotic environment incites. Researchers have found that persistent exposure to visual clutter significantly increases cortisol levels, the body’s principal stress hormone and a particularly salient factor in increasing the risk of mood disorders, dementia, and Alzheimer's (6, 7, 8).


It’s not only a physically cluttered and visually chaotic environment that contributes to the kind of stress that threatens your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. There is vast and growing evidence that environmental noise pollution can wreak havoc on our health (9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19).


Physiologically, for example, environmental noise pollution has been linked to significant changes in the structures of the brain, as well as to harmful impacts on the cerebrovascular and cardiovascular systems.


Psychologically, environmental noise has been connected to anxiety, depression, sleep impairments, difficulties with recall and concentration, and negative affect, including irritability and withdrawal.


Functionally, noise pollution has been shown to reduce employees’ productivity, undermine performance, and decrease employee job satisfaction. The associations between environmental noise and physical, mental, emotional, and functional health are so significant that efforts are now underway to support noise reduction efforts in public environments, from neonatal and adult intensive care units to business offices and schools to public parks and green spaces (19, 20).


Lifestyle Practices to Mitigate Stress


Though environment often plays a role in shaping your physical and mental health, as well as impacting your ability to function well both at home and at work, your environment is only part of the equation. There are also important changes that you can make to your lifestyle that will supplement environmental design alternations - making all the difference to your own wellbeing. These are a few of our favorite practices.


  • Practice mindfulness: Research has shown that mindfulness practices can have a highly beneficial effect on your mental, physical, and functional health both at home and in the workplace (21, 22, 23). Solo tasking, only doing one thing at a time, is an example of a mindfulness practice that can yield a 25-35% increase in productivity.


  • Meditate daily: Meditating at frequent intervals throughout the day, including while at work, has also been shown to improve mood, increase focus, reduce stress, and enhance overall physical and mental health (24, 25, 26).


  • Start journaling: Journaling at the end of the day can be a wonderful way to clear the mind of the worries and stresses of the day, helping you to decompress and prepare for sleep. Similarly, beginning the day by making both a gratitude list and a to-do list can help you organize your plan for the day, set clear goals, and approach the day with a more positive, and therefore a more productive and healthy, mindset. In fact, the beneficial effects of journaling on physical and mental health have been demonstrated even among those incurring significant stress, including psychiatric care nurses working in a COVID environment and general medical patients diagnosed with clinical anxiety (27, 28, 29).


  • Manage the environment: Because a chaotic environment filled with clutter and noise inevitably leads to overstimulation and harmful chronic stress, then managing environmental chaos is one of the most important ways to quiet your mind and regain your serenity. Declutter and organize your space to reduce the visual clutter. To prevent environmental noise pollution, consider installing noise-reducing acoustic panels in your home or office or integrate them into the design of your clients’ commercial or residential spaces.


How FSorb Can Help


At FSorb we pride ourselves on producing a wide array of high-quality, eco-friendly, visually pleasing, acoustic products for commercial and residential construction. If you are a business owner, architect, or contractor seeking to reduce the stressful impacts of noise, we offer acoustic solutions that will meet your needs. Contact your local FSorb representative today to learn more!


 

FSorb

At FSorb, we are motivated by improving human health and do so by creating eco-friendly acoustic products. Our mission is to help designers build beautiful spaces that reduce excess ambient noise while calming the human nervous system. With over 25 years in the acoustic business we stand behind FSorb as a durable, environmentally friendly, and low-cost product. If you want an acoustic solution that is safe to human health at an affordable price, then we are your resource.


info@fsorb.com

(844) 313-7672

f-sorb.com


 

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