I’m sick of being cold.
I’m sick of the shorter darker days.
I’m craving to be outside and luckily this spring I have a whole line up of awesome free healing articles for you on my blog that will help you get outside and feeling the best you’ve ever felt. If someone has forwarded you today’s article, you can sign up right here to get one free article each week directly into your own inbox.
Today we are going to start with why getting outside and listening to nature will instantly help you feel better — instantly.
Simply hearing the birds return to your part of the world will not only boost your happiness, it might literally help you sleep better, help you lose weight, help lower your cortisol and more.
That’s because hearing manmade chronic background noise isn’t just irritating, it actually impacts your long term health. By a lot. Chronic levels of noise found frequently in modern society have been shown to significantly increase your risk of heart attack, heart disease, heart failure, stroke, even atrial fibrillation. Not to mention upping your risk for insomnia, a huge health crisis in-and-of itself!
And it doesn’t stop there. Read on to discover how background noise is really impacting your health from head to toe, and the five best ways to stop it from making you feel like crap:
Constant Manmade Noise
Not only is chronic noise increasing your blood pressure, increasing inflammation in your arteries leading to heart attack and stroke, but it’s also increasing your risk of metabolic diseases and type two diabetes.
Because the disease burden of chronic noise is so directly linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and increased inflammation of the arteries, it’s important for clinicians to start treating noise pollution as a cardiac risk factor on par with smoking history, family history, age, blood pressure, and weight.
Here is a printable medical study you can take to your physician to get them to take noise pollution seriously in evaluating your true cardiovascular risk:
Low Level Indoor Noises Harm Us Too
Even small noises are an issue. This is one of the reasons being stuck indoors all winter long sucks.
So it’s not just an airplane passing by or the occasional sound of construction, but the level of normal talking, phones ringing, the sounds of cars passing by on the street outside your window — all of these sounds impact your heart attack and stroke risk, and they all up your risk for metabolic disease too.
Noise pollution is no longer about loud noises causing long term hearing issues. It’s not even about loud noises at all any more. We are now aware that normal volumes of speaking and car sounds result in much more insidious health risks over time — compromising the health of your heart, of your brain, of your body.
The new term is Noise Annoyance, which is all that is needed to produce these increased rates of chronic, life threatening health issue.
Look at the table below (taken directly out of this medical study) to see that even normal conversation is affecting your health. 55 dBA and above is considered a health risk factor by the World Health Organization (WHO):
Every 10 dBA increase in noise increases your heart attack risk by 6%, arterial calcification by 8%, and stroke risk by 14%… starting at only 50 dBA!
- So normal conversation (at 60 dBA) can, over time, contribute negatively to health issues… increasing both heart attack and stroke risk by 6% and 14% respectively.
- The normal sound of cars driving/traffic, doubles that — increasing heart attack and stroke risk by 12% and 28% respectively.
- Listening to a telephone ring repeatedly increases risk of heart attack and stroke by 18% and 42% respectively, and on and on.
Clearly, working in a high noise industry (like on an aircraft or in construction) is very hard on the body… this we already knew. What we didn’t know is having a job where you answer telephones, or working at a busy restaurant, or working a the mall, or any other environment with constant conversation and music playing adds to your cardiovascular risk as well.
And now we do.
Review Your Typical Day
- Do you hear traffic constantly (especially consider if you hear traffic where you sleep at night?)
- Do you work in an area where there is chronic talking (such as a hospital, a hotel, a store or a restaurant?)
- Do you work in an area where there are phones constantly ringing (such as at an office?)
- Do you work in an area that has music playing constantly?
- Do you sleep with music or a television on?
These health effects from chronic background noise affect all of us, whether we find the noise irritating or not.
But imagine if you had trouble filtering out background noise, as literally millions of folks with auditory sesntivitivy (hyperacusis) do. Many conditions cause people to be sensitive to noise, including autism spectrum disorders, folks with chronic ringing in the ear (tinnitus) and shift workers.
You almost assuredly know someone who noise sensitive (and please forward this article to them so they feel your support!)
- In fact, medical studies have found that almost one out of every ten people — 9% of the population or about 630 million people worldwide — have issues with noise sensitivity.
- And this medical study found that those who are most likely to be affected are children, the elderly, the chronically ill, shiftworkers, people with mental illness, people suffering from tinnitus, and people with neurodevelopment disorders.
If you have hyperacusis, on top of the long term health impact of chronic background noise, it also affects your immediate ability to think, process, focus and react to the world around you.
You might want to consider the impact of noise sensitivity if you or someone you love has:
- Autism or autism spectrum disorders. Neurodevelopment issues such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) makes it harder to localize the source of a sound and creates added difficulty in understanding speech, which gets exponentially worse in noisy environments. Children and adults who have ASD find their sympathetic nervous system gets hyperstiumlated by noise. This medical study found approximately 70% of patients with ASD had noise hypersensitivity. And this medical study used MRI imaging in ASD patients to directly reveal that the brain has has difficulty distinguishing social input from non-social auditory input.
- Tinnitus. Tinnitus can dramatically increase the risk of noise sensitivity. One study reported about 80% of patients suffering from ringing in the ears report hyperacusis.
- EMF sensitivity. As I blogged about for you here, the overwhelming EMF exposures that most of us now live with assault our central nervous system day in and day out, and can contribute to hypersensitivity. One of the most common diagnostic indicators of electrosenstivity is having tinnitus and dizziness in response to EMF exposures. I think the fact that our brain is already hyperstimulated by these chronic EMF exposures exacerbates even folks who would not normally be sensitive to noise. Hypersensitivity to multiple exposures (such as chemical sensitivities, food sensitivities, auditory sensitivities and electrohypersensitivities) play off each other and can actually bring about a huge decrease in our ability to function with normal activities of daily living. While addressing chronic auditory noise (like we are in today’s article) can be extremely helpful, if you feel you have electrosensitivities that might also be contributing, I invite you to join into my upcoming Electrosensitivity Releif Online Class right here.
So now that we are taking noise pollution more seriously, what can you do about it?
I’ve got you. Keep reading…
6 Steps To Safeguard Your Health:
1. Protect your sleep
The worst damage to your health occurs when noise levels are chronically present while you are sleeping at night, so the first thing to think about is where you lay your head to catch sleep. If you live in an area where you can hear cars driving by every night, or other constant sounds, you may ultimately want to consider moving.
Short of moving, it can help to follow these simple guidelines to help improve your sleep hygiene:
- Install noise blocking and light blocking curtains on your windows.
- Do not sleep with windows open if you live in an area with nighttime traffic, and try to sleep in a room that is not facing a road if you have an option of which bedroom to take. If you already have a high cardiovascular risk or history of heart disease or stroke, consider switching bedrooms with another family member in order to get away from a busy street.
- If you have a yard, consider planting a row of trees to help block noise coming to your home.
- Turn off appliances when not in use… don’t sleep with the TV or music running, don’t sleep with a sound machine on, give your brain a break from the constant onslaught of noise whenever possible.
- Wear ear protection designed to minimize disruption from noise while you sleep.
- Reduce EMF exposures in your sleeping area to decrease the over all environmental toxicity of your bedroom (click over here to read more on electrosensitivity and reducing your exposures to EMFs.)
- Deep sleep by wearing blue light filtering glasses in the evenings, like these. You can find blue light filtering glasses almost anywhere, but make sure they are dark yellow to orange, not light yellow, in order to block enough blue light that it actually makes a noticeable difference in your ability to fall asleep.
- Ground while you sleep at night to dramatically deepen sleep, improve your brain’s sleep patterns and give your body some restorative down time before facing another full, noisy, busy day.
- Take probiotics. Research published in 2019 in Frontiers In Psychiatry showed that after 6 weeks of taking probiotics, participants has significantly improved sleep quality. You can read this article right here. I have these waiting for you, along with the other supplements (like magnesium) I suggest for a good nights sleep, in one easy Sleep Restore Protocol that is waiting for you right here.
- Listen to my podcast on 14 holistic tips for improving sleep. I recorded a 20 minute podcast for you all about a recent medical study on sleep, and run through all of these tips plus a few extra bonus tips (for a total of 14 holistic steps to your best night’s sleep yet!) Hop over here to listen in and please be sure to subscribe! Intuition Physician Updates is a brand new podcast I just launched and I’ll be adding new episodes on the latest holistic health news all year long.
2. Wear simple, effective ear protection
You can wear these simple, soft, effective silicone ear devices to decrease irritating noise while at the same time, helping to clarify important noises that you actually want to hear. Calmer sits barely visible in the ear and uses revolutionary, non-electric technology to reduce mid and high frequency distortion without having a detrimental effect on our hearing.
Calmer reduces stress by removing distortion that would usually trigger the human “fight or flight” response. While this response was a vital part of our evolution to alert us to the slightest sound or threat, in today’s modern world where we no longer need to be alert to the snap of a twig, this added resonance is loading us with unnecessary stress.
Calmer specifically helps reduce noises that causes stress and anxiety. They do this without reducing the volume so you don’t feel disconnected from the world, and you can hear what you need to hear clearly. The result is a natural way to minimize today’s constant barrage of environmental noise stressors which have a negative impact on our mental and physical well-being.
While this will decrease stress for anyone, whether you are sensitive to noises or not, it can be a game changer for those with Hyperacusis, for example those with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, tinnitus, or other hypersensitivity issues.
You can wear these during waking and sleeping hours. The help to relieve stress while at home, at work, at school, on commutes, while traveling, at restaurants, concerts, or all night long when you want to deeply relax. They are very discrete and you can still hear normal conversation, music, co-workers, etc… but at much safer volumes that protect your long term health and decrease your immediate stress.
When you wear them you not only protect your stress levels and ability to process communication in the short term, but protect your heart and brain and metabolism for the long term, too! Tell your friends, fellow students, co-workers, anyone who ask about them how wearing ear protection can actually decrease heart attack and stroke risk — they will be amazed!
Learn more about how these ingenious, simple ear protective devices work right here. They always go out of stock, so if you want to try out a pair, do so today as they just came back in stock this week.
3. Spend more time in nature
More evidence that Mother Nature can boost your happiness like nothing else can… a new study suggests that bird diversity is as important to life satisfaction as an income is.
This study, published in Ecological Economics found that not only is happiness correlated with local bird diversity, but a 10% boost in bird diversity actually increases happiness to a similar magnitude as a 10% boost in income does!
We’ve known for a while that animals improve our mood, health, and even boost longevity (I’ve blogged about how pets can do all of this and more for you right here) and that plants do much the same… decreasing depression rates, anxiety rates, and dramatically reducing stress.
But even knowing all of that, I still think if you ask most people if they would rather see a couple extra birds today or earn a slightly higher paycheck, most would assume that money would provide more satisfaction. But this study suggests we might be even happier if we increase our exposure to birds.
Analyzing data from over 26,000 adults across 26 different countries, researchers evaluated biological diversity, socio-economic data and life satisfaction surveys to examine what makes the biggest impact on our long term happiness. It turns out, more than plants, more than large fauna, more than insect or tree diversity, bird diversity has the biggest impact on happiness… comparable in magnitude to that of income.
So tip #3 is — stop and look for birds. Or, even easier, just stop and listen. We can often hear birds even when we can’t see them.
Living in an urban area? There are still birds. Listen for them in early morning — sunrise is the best time to hear birds — or listen in the late afternoon hours. Or do tip #4 below…
4. Hang a bird feeder
Want to increase the amount of birds you see and hear?
Hang a bird feeder in a window, put some potted plants, a birdbath or a birdhouse on a porch, balcony or doorstep — even without a yard, you absolutely can attract more birds to you, even in urban settings. For inspiration, check out this blog post on Bryony Angells’s blog — it’s so adorable — her hummingbird feeders and more hung up on a 10th story balcony that get’s plenty of attention from local birds!
Want to give your body a double shoot of happiness and a health boost?
Combine grounding and birding (simply touch a leaf or a tree or a flower or a rock or a balde of grass and you will be grounded while you listen to the lovely birdsong) and you will be directly supporting your body’s function while simultaneously boosting your happiness.
5. Plan a weekend away
Crave to hear more of nature’s natural sounds? Consider a weekend away in nature.
There is great evidence to suggest that even one weekend in nature can boost your long term health. A study published in Biomedical and Environmental Sciences in 2012 showed that even a brief intervention of one single weekend spent in nature had significant health benefits — reducing stress, reducing inflammation, and even boosting the body’s immune response, compared to staying in an urban environment for the weekend.
After only a two day immersion in nature, study participants had measurably boosted immunity markers in the blood, lowered blood inflammatory markers, lower cortisol levels, boosted natural killer cells, and improvement of several other markers of immunity and inflammation.
But here is the best part: not only was this health boost significant immediately, but it persisted for an entire month after just that one single weekend in nature!
So one weekend in nature sustained an improvement in health for weeks, well after the subjects returned to their urban living. The researchers even suggest that routine visits in nature may provide long term anti-cancer benefits, because the subjects who spent a weekend in nature had boosted T Cell and Natural Killer cell function (which produce anti-cancer proteins) that persisted for weeks.
They encourage time spent in nature as a healthy part of a cancer prevention plan, and I agree… if you can’t get outside in nature daily, these studies suggest that planning one weekend a month can still make a huge difference in not only your current health, but protecting your future health as well. If you can strive to take on weekend a month as a break from your daily grind in order to support your long term health, you can reap the benefits of weeks of boosted health, even if you can’t live in nature.
To save money try camping somewhere local and see how much better you feel. Not up for a night in a tent? Try visiting a local state or national park that has cabins – these are typically much less pricey compared to hotels and get you infinitely closer to nature.
I feel that investing in your health by spending time in nature is the best thing you can save up for, so if you are up for a luxury camping trip, my boyfriend and I really enjoy Getaway cabins — one night mini-glamping stays that definitely make me feel instantly more centered, in tune with nature, and back on track with my health when my stress levels rise. Check out Getaway Cabins here to see if there is a location near you. (I have no affiliation with Getaway I just love heading there myself and wanted to share!)
And as this study suggests, you might just find that giving yourself a little bit of time to enjoy the singing of birds on these weekend breaks gives you more life satisfaction than your paycheck does. So if you want to plan a trip around where you’ll see the most birds, or even one particular bird you’d like to see, you may enjoy birding apps like Birdseye, that give you up to date information on where to find birds, and will tell you what birds are actually around you, no matter where you are! Grab some binoculars, consider getting up a little earlier than you normally would (sunrise is often the best time to listen to birds!) and have fun.
6. Decrease other stressors
Like with everything in life, health is a balance. Even when you can not do anything to change one stressor, decreasing other stressors in your life helps decrease the total amount of stress burden placed on your body.
It’s absolutely reasonable and recommended that you consider stress when choosing an occupation, a living location, your commute, a relationships, a friendships, forming relationships with coworkers, etc… Toxicity from these ubiquitous sources are every bit as important to consider as it is to reduce more obvious toxins like the ones found in the food you eat, the water you drink, choosing non-toxic household and personal care items, etc…
And on the flip side, increasing and optimizing any other aspect of your health will go a long way to protect your over all long term wellness. Optimize the quality of the foods, nutrients, micronutrients, vitamins & minerals you put into your body, optimize the purity of the water you drink, increase your physical activity, go outside and get your body grounded to the earth as often as possible, and on and on.
Read through this list and find one (or several) ways that you can focus on what you can control, which will help mitigate the stressors you can’t control:
- Decrease toxic burden. Go through your pantry, bathroom, and laundry room and remove synthetic, chemical laden foods from your pantry, toxic artificial body care products, oral care products and hair care products from your bathrooms, remove chemical laden home care and cleaning products as well as artificially scented and chemical laden laundry products, and never use toxic chemicals on your lawn. Reducing environmental toxins like artificial fragrances and toxic household cleaners and toxic body, beauty and oral care products also goes a long way to reducing the total burden you put on your body each day.
- Wash your hands before eating anything to remove all the chemicals we pick up as we go about our day so you don’t get traces of them into your mouth with each meal.
- Eat clean whenever possible. Reduce total body toxic burden by eating less processed and artificial foods, and more antioxidant rich natural healthy foods whenever possible. I wrote this article here to help.
- Improve your nutritional intake. Supplement with high quality antioxidants that can help alleviate free radicals and oxidative damage, potentially decreasing over all burden of stress on your body.
- Drink more water. Put a water filtration system right out on your kitchen counter and drink a big glass every single time you walk by it.
- Move your body. Start and end every single day with a walk outside in fresh air. Daily movement helps deliver much needed fresh oxygen and nutrients to all organ systems as well as aid in the removal of toxins and waste by-products. Exercise absolutely boosts your body’s health and resiliency!!!
- Decrease cumulative EMF exposures. Join my upcoming Electrosensitivity Class and get those dramatically reduced. You will feel immediate relief.
- Breathe. It only take 3 deep breaths to literally boost the function of your heart and other crucial internal organs — take 3 deep breaths right now. It’s a mini meditation that literally boosts your health instantly. Use a chime routinely to remind you… I walk you through it right here in this video. Feel that? Do it daily.
- Start reading books at night instead of watching TV.
- Stop multitasking and let your brain focus on just one task at a time.
- Start taking nightly epsom salt bath soaks.
- Sauna each week to relax tense muscle and boost your health (as I blog about here, routine sauna increases life span!)
- Join a spiritual support group or get serious about finding a church or synagogue or meditation center that feels right the moment you walk in the doors.
- Stop using social media and reach out to your real life friends to set up a weekly date.
And on and on and on. There is always something you can do to feel better, and better and better. There are always actionable steps you can take to boost your health.
One simple one, that you can do today, is to evaluate your background noise and reduce it, or protect against it with ear protection.
Yep, it’s that simple!
To your resilient, constantly re-setting and improving health…
PS — Want more tips on how to reap the benefits of nature, even when living an urban lifestyle?
I shared the idea to go bird watching with you in my book: The Earth Prescription, and I have hundreds of other ideas that will boost your health in this book, just waiting for you. Ideas that will ground you every season of the year no matter where you live. I’m so excited to share it with you, and I’d love to sign a copy for you and send it directly from my hands to yours.
Or, you can order it anywhere books are sold, including: