There was an impromptu party going on the Thames path outside my flat tonight, complete with some seriously loud music. I was encouraged by the fact my instinctive reaction was to smile, enjoy the music and wish I was young enough to join in ... rather than start moaning about the 'racket' going on outside!
Still there are some times that uninvited noise can be very stressful, for example if you're trying to concentrate on reading or trying to sleep. Another place I find it stressful is if I'm on the tube or bus in the morning and someone is playing some annoying music with rubbish headphones that mean the rest of the bus/tube gets to hear a muffled but still irritatingly loud version.
I like to keep my mornings as relaxed as possible so I don't arrive into work all flustered and keep my cortisol levels nice and even. If you let yourself get worked up before you even get to work your blood sugar levels will be all over the place and you'll feel frazzled before you've even had your morning coffee.
For me keeping things relaxed involves leaving early enough so I don't have to rush and then doing some relaxed reading on the tube or mindless gazing out the window. It certainly does not feature any hard core drum and base music, however for some commuters this is part of their morning routine and therefore I have to endure it whether I like it or not.
I used to get really stressed and sometimes even move out of my coveted seat just to get away. However I picked up a great tip from the wonderful Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle for dealing with these unwanted audio assaults. His tip was to pretend you were invisible and that the noise was passing through you without resistance.
You'll have to read the book to get the full concept of this and how to do it, but honestly it works - when the usual crazies start ranting on the tube I just pretend I'm an invisible observer and they stop being so annoying. This isn't just limited to commuting, try it out at work if you have any noisy colleagues, or even at home if a family member has gone on a rant!!
Remember if something is winding you up it's producing a stress response in the body which is bad for your health ... so having a conversation with someone who stresses you out is also actively bad for you. Obviously it's hard to pretend someone is invisible in a one to one - so on these occasions make your excuses and get out the conversation as soon as poss.