Be Quiet Amid the Noise

I think my digital attention span has hit its limit.

With content arriving constantly from all directions, I feel more harassed than enlightened.  News sites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, podcasts... the list goes on, and includes TV and streaming services.  It's too much to absorb, too much to keep up with, and too much time invested for too little return.

above the crowd

Life before the internet

Do you remember what it was like before the Internet was a constant presence in our lives?  I do.  I remember being able to concentrate, having time to imagine and think.  I remember turning on the TV to watch a specific show rather than sitting through a multi-hour binge.  I remember being bored and finding something useful or creative to do rather than scrolling through other people's photos and reposting GIFs or memes.

Sometimes we need to be quiet amid the noise.  There's plenty of evidence that noise pollution causes stress, raising heart rate and blood pressure.  And a 2013 study found that silence stimulates the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a region associated with learning, memory, and emotion.   

When we experience silence, we think our own thoughts rather than being influenced by everyone else's.  We're able to think more deeply and creatively.  

All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.
Herman Melville

Technology is wonderful.  It has provided so many ways to encourage and keep in touch with loved ones during this time of quarantine.  It has enabled my husband to teach his 6th grade students remotely, and allowed so many people to work and attend meetings from home.  It has made this blog possible.

But we need to be able to turn technology off.  We need to focus on our surroundings and the people right in front of us.  And we need to make sure those outside voices don't drown out our inner one.

So be quiet.  Instead of trying to keep up – whether that's obsessively listening to the news, checking your feed, or trying to be seen, heard, liked, or followed – step back.  Be intentional about what you read or follow.  Tune out sometimes and do your own thing.  Unplug for an hour, a day, or a weekend.  The Internet will still be there when you get back.

And by the way, if you choose to follow Maximum Gratitude Minimal Stuff, I'm honored.  I'll do my best to keep creating content that's worth your time and attention.

Updated March 2023


  1. "The Internet will still be there when you get back"
    I love this.


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