We live in a world that is often too noisy and too fast. Social media bombards us with one frightening headline after another, advertises things we don’t need or want but feel pressured to own, reminds us of memories we might not actually want dredged up and encourages us to share all our thoughts and feelings for the world to see.
Personally, I have started to find I feel more anxious sharing my thoughts rather than keeping them inside. Suddenly, everything is too sensitive a topic, or an apparently deliberate shout for attention, or seen by older generations as an “excuse” or “laziness.” Sometimes it seems like everything needs to be explained now, every new friend placated, every piece of advice offered, taken.
Sometimes, you need to just stop.
However, even stopping has become a maze of trendy options. From mindfulness to daily journaling apps to carving out time for yoga. Not everyone has time for that. And more importantly, not everyone has the energy or motivation. Anxiety can knock you flat in the middle of a report at work, or while on the bus to school — and then where are you meant to spread your yoga mat?
If you can’t tell already, I’m a bit of a cynic. In fact, I’m a huge cynic. I find affirmations patronizing and exhausting, exercise ineffective (and yes, I did try it for more than a week) and mindfulness and gratitude a bit self-indulgent sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge believer in people trying everything and anything to keep anxious thoughts at bay, and the above is entirely my personal opinion, having tried those options and found them useless for me.
I know I can’t be the only cynic out there.
So during a particularly bad bout of insomnia and restlessness, I put together a list of sites that have genuinely helped me in the past to find my center and return to being a functional human being. Sort of.
These sites help me out a lot, and I use them regularly. Some need headphones, though most don’t, and all of them can be done at work on a break, on your computer, tablet or phone, without putting yourself out too much.
I hope these help out my fellow cynics, and anyone looking for something new to help them ground themselves.
If Wikipedia is a place you just can’t leave be, then this is a perfect link for you. Responding to every update, edit and new post on the endlessly collaborative site, Hatnote turns these into soft sounds akin to the strum of a guitar. This is perfect for people who enjoy a bit of white noise in their day to quiet a busy mind, as there is no predictable pattern for this site whatsoever.
2. A list of the “the most relaxing tunes ever“
Sometimes, just tones are enough to rewire our minds to a more settled and comfortable place. If plucking and strumming are a bit too hard to handle on a sensory overload day, I would recommend this link, for sure. For people like me, who sometimes find themselves feeling somewhat cynical in regards to guided meditation, something like this is absolutely perfect. Look up the songs on the list, put those headphones on, find somewhere comfortable to sit and let the sound ease you back to a good mood.
The Quiet Place is probably the least invasive (while still being entirely interactive) minimalist site I’ve ever been on. It guides you through three minutes of being entirely unplugged, and reminds you of things we tend to take for granted in our fast-paced world. There is calming music for those who prefer it, but it can be turned off for those that just need a genuine “quiet place.” This entire project is a gift, and I highly recommend checking it out when you’ve the mindset and time for it.
Part of the same incredible project as The Quiet Room, this is a place to go when you need to let out your thoughts and feelings, but don’t feel like you want anyone to actually respond. This site allows you to type out anything you like and watch your angry words, or your sad words, become glittering stars before they fade away and leave you alone.
For the inner artist in all of us. A site that asks for nothing but a click of a mouse to create galaxies of your choosing, in any color, pattern, design or complexity. It lets you save your creations to show others later, too.
Whatever mood we’re in, regardless of how cynical or positive we are, and whatever way we find to express ourselves, sometimes we just need a place — or several — to sit quietly and find ourselves again. Feel free to share your go-to sites in the comments and help spread the peace.
Follow this journey on Val Prozorova Writer.
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Thinkstock photo via Anchiy.