Press Mute on Brain Noise

In today’s world of smartphones and 24-hour news channels, we’ve become addicted to information. I found myself filling all my micro-moments each day with stuff that blocked me from forward progress.

Brain “noise” is any information that is irrelevant, useless, hypothetical or distracting. And noise saps our brains of the energy to process the actually relevant information.

In Before Happiness, I describe how to decrease the noise in our lives by just 5 percent to help clear space for the things that move us forward.

1. Leave the radio off for the first five minutes of being in the car.

2. Turn off the car radio while talking to people.

3. Mute TV and Internet commercials.

4. Remove news media links from your bookmarks—it’s amazing that typing in three letters, like “CNN,” seems to take forever compared with clicking a bookmark.

5. Limit watching of prediction news (“experts” trying to predict what might happen in politics or the markets)

6. Do not read articles on tragedies you cannot affect with your behavior.

Try a few of these for the next week, and you’ll see: Sometimes getting back just 5 percent of brain space can give you the advantage you need to start moving forward.


Shawn Achor is a Harvard-trained researcher and best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. Get a daily dose of happy at Shawn's Facebook page.

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