Do you hear that?
Stop reading. Stop thinking. Stop anticipating. Listen. What do you hear?
Is the computer humming? Is the air conditioner running? Is someone next to you nasally breathing?
Didn't hear anything? Close your eyes, inhale for three counts, hold for seven, exhale for five. Now, can you hear the sounds around you; or is there too much noise going on internally?
I have a very quiet work space and I can't work with music playing in the background. The space around me is quiet, but the noise in my head is a racket. Bouncing around in my brain is worry and fear - what I'm working on, what I'm not working on, that I may be forgetting something or I have incorrectly prioritized my workload.
Things get so noisy "upstairs" that I don't hear the jackhammer eating away the sidewalk 5 stories below me. When a thought tornado has entered my mind, my breath is shallow, my heart races, my face is tense and I am light years from feeling peaceful.
When you go for a walk, do you hear the birds and insects or the sounds of cars driving nearby? It seems like external noise are irrelevant. But your awareness of sounds is are a positive step in the direction of mindfulness and it is also a form of meditation.
Imagine your brain is clear of noise and you hear the sounds around you. Your breathing slows down, your body is relaxed, and you sense a source of energy not for any reason other than stillness of your mind.
It is possible to be working and hear the world around you. It requires slowing down, focusing on a single thing and beginning to train yourself to handle the busy noises in your brain. When your internal voice is shouting at you, give it the attention it desires, then take a moment to set your thoughts free. Write the concern or thought on paper and attend to it later. Take your worrying thoughts one by one and let each float off like a balloon.
An awareness of the sounds around you doesn't need to happen every minute of the day. When you are aware, however, you will notice a profound difference in your level of anxiety. The awareness of sound is a positive and effective way to slow down the game, find inner peace and enjoy simple moments in life.