The above picture was taken about 5 minutes from our house, but you would never know it because there is not a soul around for what seems like miles and miles. Taos is a different kind of place, as on one side you have what is basically the desert – flat land, no water, sagebrush growing everywhere. And on the other side of town, you have canyons and Carson National Forest – tons of trees, grass and water. It is quite a dichotomy, really. But my favorite part of both sides of town is the silence – I have never experienced silence like this, and it has taken some getting used to. We are so used to traffic, blaring horns, booming stereos and just a general buzz that when we got here and tried to fall asleep the first couple of nights, we couldn’t! Now, however, I feel like I am getting some of the best sleep of my life, and for the first time in forever I am waking up feeling refreshed. Seems that noise pollution in Los Angeles was really bad for me!
Studies have proven that noise pollution can be incredibly damaging to your health – even the noise you don’t notice in your day to day life. Constant exposure to noise increases your production of cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone. And while we need that hormone when our life is really in danger, it is not healthy when “on” all the time. Over time, it can corrode the body, eat away at blood vessels and other organs and predispose a person to other medical woes. “This is the most disturbing thing about noise, because it means you are being exposed to this reaction all the time,” said Roberto Bertollini of the World Health Organization’s Special Programme on Health and Environment.
Don’t think you are being subjected to noise on a daily basis? Check out the decibel levels of things you are subjected to almost every day:
“Quiet” home: 20 dB
Normal talking: 40 dB
Ringing telephone: 60 dB
Air conditioner: 75 dB
Heavy traffic: 90 dB
Honking horns: About 100 dB
So even if you think you are in a “quiet” house, you are still being subjected to noise of some sort. But moving here has really shown us what quiet is…the other day I was out at the Rio Grande park, and I was laying on a bench about 1 mile from the parking lot. I had walked all the way out there and there was not another person around at all. As I was laying there, I started hearing this “swooshing” sound, and I could not even guess what it was. But when I opened my eyes to look around, the noise was coming from the hawks that were flying down into the gorge and back out again….it was phenomenal.
I was hearing the swooshing of the wings of these giant birds; it was that quiet out there. It’s amazing how some quiet time really lets you relax – something I never really did (at least not to this extent) in California. It simply was never this quiet there. It gives you time to think, time for your body to regenerate, time for your muscles to relax, and it is probably very healthy for your mind. If you don’t live somewhere very quiet, try to find a spot that will be quiet for an extended period of time – I am sure it will do you some good. Being in Los Angeles I never realized how much noise I was subjected to, and now I live somewhere that I can hear the wings of a bird flying overhead. Things are good, and now I appreciate the quiet life…something I never thought I would be able to do.
So how about you? Do you live somewhere that the noise drives you crazy? Or have you found your spot of silence? Let me know in the comments!
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