For several weeks now I’ve been practicing Radio Silence in my car. The car is in some ways to perfect place for silence. For many, it is a place where we are frequently alone. And it’s a place where we are frequently on stimulation overload.
Driving is Stressful
There are so many things to be aware of, it puts our nervous systems on high alert. Cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, all going at different speeds in different directions. Keeping an eye out for erratic drivers, stop signs, traffic lights, and trying to figure out where we are going can send our stress response through the roof. Music adds to the sensory input, even if it’s “relaxing” music.
Music in My Head
I started this practice when I realized I was waking up with 3 songs simultaneously swimming around in my head, and I had no idea why those songs on that day. A sign of sensory overload for sure, and my stress level. I’ve vowed to get that excess noise out of my head.
So now I drive in silence, retreating a bit from sensory overload every day. The songs in my head are beginning to disappear, now there is only one at a time. My body and mind are more relaxed in the car, and I’m calmer at the end of the drive. I still like to sit in the car for a few moments after I arrive, feel my breath, and let go of all the other sensory input before I head in to do whatever needs doing next.
I used to twitch and impulsively reach to turn on the radio. With patience, and determination, I’ve managed to drive for weeks with only one brief check of the weather and traffic.
Try it for even just a few minutes at a time to reduce some stress at the beginning and end of the day.