Eliminate the Noise

Oct 14, 2022

Email. Virtual meetings. Company communications. Invitations. Calendar logging.  Content creation. Data collection. Research. Social media. Streaming networks. Gaming. Networking.

What do all these things have in common?


In the age of tech, the human race is uniquely positioned  to face challenges of choice and distraction, more now than ever before. At work you are bombarded by virtual meetings, constant emails, data input and output, and so much more. At home you turn on the tv while you cook from your electric stove and text a friend about your weekend plans. Everything we do comes back to the ability to work from a technologically generated platform. I mean, can you possibly imagine a life before technology like this existed? 

If you can’t, someone else can. Generations of homemakers, farmers, inventors, researchers, musicians, practitioners and many more came before this revolution that we now live in.  Work was manual in nature and communication happened face to face. Home was divided by gendered roles and tasks. Community lived on your block, not behind a screen. Though generations before  lived in their own unique set of  challenges, they never faced the dilemma of THE NOISE.

Technically speaking noise is different from sound. Noise is a disturbance or obscurity in sound. So for the purpose of this article the noise refers to the extras that are generated by technology.

Just as technology has transformed society from manual labor to a machine and industry driven way of life in the industrial revolution, we do not want to diminish its importance. Technology has without a doubt created great ease, efficiency and access at which yearly tasks can turn into monthly or even daily tasks, depending on the supply and demand. It has advanced health sciences applications and vastly increased the speed and rate of transportation. Technology has transformed the way we communicate with email, message, text, call and livestream video at our fingertips. But, just like in most things, technology has its upsides, and downsides too.

Technology has yielded tools to pull resources at record breaking speeds. “Every year we extract almost 90 billion tons of biomass, fossil energy, metal and minerals from the earth - more than 11 tons for every single person on the planet.” This rate is evidently higher in westernized cultures and regions. Our food systems have evolved to adapt a lifestyle of convenience where our food travels further than ever historically recorded before. Speaking of travel, transportation is one of the major contributors to the current climate crisis faced by the human race as a whole. ​Between 1990 and 2020, transportation greenhouse gas emissions were higher than any other sector at 27% of carbon pollution to our environment. The list of downsides cannot possibly be captured in a few sentences here, but the point is that of cause and effect. 

As it is said that all things come at a price, I cannot help but to ponder, at what price are we willing to allow technology to take over? 

Author, Kevin Kelly’s highlights in his book, The Inevitable, that the human race will not know a future without the digital age now transversed by technology in areas of science, health, art, politics, and business. He describes a timeline of inevitable (hence the title) technological advancements of several decades predicting much of what we are experiencing today-wearable tracking devices, wars based on ego and ignorance, AI based lifestyles, global reach to even the far corners of earth, etc. Kelly is not alone, but I need not point out the insurmountable evidence here, after all we are all living it.

Technology has immersed its way into our everyday lives effortlessly and can be seen and felt worldwide. Though both pros and cons can be argued for the advancements, like most things, the best of both worlds remains in the balance.

From a behavioral and neuroscience perspective, choices made around technology are often automatic or subconscious, placing greater demand on the sympathetic nervous system. As the “fight or flight” system of the body, the sympathetic system is often equated to the “on” button of your light switch. For example: grabbing your phone and surfing social media before you even get out of bed in the morning, or responding to an email while you are at your daughter’s soccer game. These choices in action are automatic and seemingly strip us of mindful and intentional living, which solidifies the ease at which technology has integrated into our daily habits. 

The good news is that with conscious and intentional effort you can hardwire your brain to think, and therefore act or respond differently.  You must first accept that technology has a hold on you, and then catch the opportunities to simplify your technological needs so that you can magnify a life focused on your true values and priorities. This does not mean that you have to fully eliminate technology from your life. In fact, many would argue that society has come too far to completely get rid of even rudimentary tools built by tech. However, and again, it is all in the balance. 

Computer Science  professor and author, Cal Newport shares a timely philosophy in his book Digital Minimalism,  which encourages “ you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities” that enhance your life. The “digital minimalist” rethinks their relationship with all of technology, paving way to re-engage with an offline lifestyle that diminishes the hold of external forces, and enhances the person centered core values and interests. Newport also offers a 30 day digital declutter which I highly recommend. 

However, I would like to leave you with a few questions to ponder on to help you get the internal conversation started, so that you can begin to make habitual changes to your personal interaction and consumptions of a technology. The objective is to eliminate the noise. 

Time to think….

What mindless habits have you picked up? What extras are creating clutter in your life? Ex. Scrolling social media with no agenda and watching tv while I am in bed.

What is controllable? Uncontrollable? Ex. I can control how long I watch tv and/or if I watch it in bed. I can also control when I respond to emails. I cannot control that my job expectations require me to respond to emails.

When do you notice the noise the most? Ex. Right before bed I watch tv and catch myself scrolling social when I am bored.

What do you notice about the noise? What is your intention for technology in your life? Ex. I tend to go down rabbit holes or lose track of valuable time. I would like for tech to serve a meaningful purpose to enhance my life through joy of interaction with others, expansion of my knowledge base and contribute to unwinding.

What do you value most in life? What/who are your priorities? Ex. I value learning and growth so that I may teach others about being stewards of both our inner and outer worlds. 

What have you wanted to try, but haven't? What is an old hobby that you have not tended  in a long time? Ex. I used to rock climb and write in nature. I would like to attend a writing conference and networking event.

What does true rest and restoration mean to you? What does it look like? Ex. Rest and restoration is no agenda or time clock, full unplug from technology and time in nature.

How much margin do you have for humanness? How much are you willing to allow the noise to hold space in your daily life? Ex. 30-60min of noise a day. Ideally only 30min but grace period expands to 60min of one tv episode given it brings me peace and/or laughter.

It is my hope that you can begin dialing down the noise of tech so that you can dial up the sound of life!

Always remember, small steps can lead to big change. We at Wellview would love to support you in creating small building blocks to help you achieve big change. Click HERE to learn more about the services available to you.

– Casey Edmonds, MPH, CILC, CHWC, CMS, CPT

Editor-in-Chief, Health Advisor, Personal Trainer| Email Casey

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