How to deal with uncontrollable noise


Feng shui is a long-term lifestyle choice that can be systematically applied to enhance all areas of a home. But some people view it as an all-purpose fix-it system with miraculous powers to banish anything uncomfortable from their life.

An example of this is when someone contacts me to request a consultation to deal with uncontrollable external noise in their life, such as a noisy neighbour. I’m sorry to say there is no magical feng shui cure for this but, since I get asked this question a lot, I have written this article to explain another approach that can be taken.

Sometimes external noise is simply bad timing. You move to a new place and a building construction team suddenly starts a project next door, robbing you of any peace for a while. All you can do is weather it and survive. Or sometimes it’s so serious you really cannot stay.

In my book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, I explain that interruptions cause a jarring in our energy that can be exhausting and debilitating. Some people cope better than others, but the continued assault on our senses to some degree affects vitality, health, and well-being.

An experiment (Lefcourt, 1976) in which two groups of people were given complicated puzzles and a piece of proofreading to do while being subjected to an irritating noise sheds some light on why interruptions are such a problem. One group had a button that enabled them to turn off the noise; the other group did not. Not surprisingly, the group with control completed five times more puzzles and did a much better job of the proofreading than the group that had to put up with the noise. But very surprisingly, the group with the button never actually pushed it! As Howard Bloom commented in his book, The Lucifer Principle, “It wasn’t the noise or lack of it that affected their performance; it was the mere idea that if they’d wanted to, they could shut it off.”

So it’s not just the noise of pesky neighbours but the powerlessness of the situation that can wear you down. And the more you react to it, the more intensely it will affect you.

External noise as a symptom of internal noise

In my experience, external noise is not always just the hand of fate that has been dealt. In the same way that clutter is a symptom of an underlying cause, noise can sometimes be symptomatic of something inside a person that needs to be heard. It can be their Higher Self’s way of getting their attention.

When they stop, go within, and listen (and they may have to go many layers deep to get to this), the noise situation in their outer environment somehow gets resolved. If they resist this, the journey can become painful, but in reality they are doing it to themselves.

What you can do

If you suspect this could apply to you, here’s my recommendation. Take a day off — yes, a whole day off! — and do it soon. Go to a place with beautiful scenery and a peaceful atmosphere that you have never been before. Take a notebook and pen with you and some supplies of food and water. Switch off your phone and unplug from the internet. Your project for the day is to take some “me” time to write about your ideal life.

At the top of a page, put the title: MY IDEAL LIFE. Have the attitude that from this day on, you can do anything you choose to do. Then start numbering down the page, and beside each number, describe a different aspect of your ideal life, free from any limitations, financial restrictions, commitments, responsibilities to others, and so on. Allow your mind to soar. If you could do anything, go anywhere, be anyone… What would those things be? What would your life look like? How would it feel? Spend at least half the day thinking and writing about this.

The process is likely to bring up emotions. Allow yourself to feel them. Don’t suppress them. It’s through allowing your feelings to rise that the stuck energy of your current situation can start to move. The distance between how your life is now and how you would truly like it to be is a measure of how off-track you have wandered, and the daily noise you are being bombarded with can give you a glimpse of your Spirit’s anguish about this.

There may be nothing you can immediately do to change your situation, but hopefully there will be some baby steps you can at least make. Take a fresh page and begin to list any you can think of.

It is wise in times of change to have support, so also list any resources you may be able to draw on when you get back home. Taking charge of your own environment by clutter clearing can help enormously too. And if you happen to be reading this at a time when I have a Zero Procrastination online course coming up, also consider taking that (a major feature of the course is to help participants to reprioritize their life top-down).

If you’ve read this article this far, it’s likely that your neighbour’s noise will probably no longer seem so significant. You are looking at the much bigger picture now of how to get your life back on purpose, and everything that entails. In so doing, you have moved out of what psychologists call “victim mode”, by empowering yourself to take control of your life and make changes.

Remember, it’s not what happens to a person but how they handle it that dictates their path in life. There may still be noise from your neighbours when you go home, but your new attitude towards it can allow you now to view it as a spur to unlock a better future for yourself. Heck, you may even end up thanking them for providing the impetus to push you to move forward.

Related article
Dare to be yourself

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2016

About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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5 Responses to How to deal with uncontrollable noise

  1. Stephanie says:

    What would your advice be when a federal body , the FAA, decides to inflict jet noise 24/7 on communities all around the US with no prior warning? I would welcome your suggestions, Karen as this situation was flung on people without consultation or any meaningful environmental review and is depriving communities of any peace and quiet not to mention a good night’s sleep. I don’t think that one’s inner noise would cut it for me.

    • My article is aimed at the level of neighbourhood noise rather than the type that needs to be controlled by federal legislation. The World Health Organization states that ‘one in five Europeans is regularly exposed to sound levels at night that could significantly damage health’. So the problem is far more widespread than just in the US. We live in a very noisy world!

      Welcome news is that changing to electric cars will reduce traffic noise considerably and there has been some movement towards reducing engine noise. But there’s still a long way to go, and the health costs are high.

      • Stephanie says:

        Thank you for your reply, Karen and you can probably tell that a constant barrage of overhead noise is not doing much for my control of mood. This has only recently occurred ( over the last year and a half) with the roll out of ‘ ‘Next Gen’ where communities that were previously not affected suddenly found themselves under a flight path with satellite controlled aircraft so they fly in one after the other in a conga line. If you find yourself under one, your peace at home is destroyed which is unfortunately where we find ourselves.

        The air pollution as well as noise is very disturbing not to mention the carbon footprint! What concerns me too is that we no longer hear the dawn chorus. Everyone is flying all over the world at the drop of a hat yet we are paying a high premium for that luxury.

  2. Elisabeth says:

    Right now, this problem is most acute for me, after having moved into an apartment where we have put quite some money to remodel it. We live in the city and neighbors as well as the traffic is unbearable. Karen, your article came at the right time, I certainly will follow your advice, it sounds (pun intended) good! Thank you so much for taking this problem seriously. And thank you, Julie B, too, for your words. So encouraging!

  3. Julie B says:

    Several years ago I had a problem in my neighbourhood with barking and howling dogs. The howling was more a pathetic cry whenever it’s owner went to work. The jarring on my body was painful. Five different neighbours were involved, two of which were a problem at night. I work from home so it was getting out of control. I was also in a phase where there was a lot of noise in my head so I can relate to what you said in your article that it was as much an inner space as an outer one. One of my inner issues was allowing others to encroach on my space. I was a pleaser and was not so good with boundaries.

    Physically and energetically I made a shift. I took charge. I approached each neighbour about their noisy pets and asked them to address their unhappy animals. One of those approaches happened in my dressing gown and slippers at 1.00 in the morning! The entire experience was quite confrontational but it ended up being a good way for me to put thoughts into action. I created better boundaries in my life and started to get what I needed – a bit of peace. There are still barking dogs in the neighbourhood but nowhere near the level it was and my tolerance level has increased as a result of my action.

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