I received the first round of responses from the other former missions questioned. There was a lot of good and interesting feedback. I’ll definitely be asking follow-up questions.
I was especially intrigued by one sister, Heather Thomas, who said, “An interesting thing that I have observed is that I have found that I am more at peace because I can now feel comfortable in silence because before my mission I always had some kind of background noise in my down time. But now I look forward to opportunities where I can take some time to sit back in silence and ponder the things of life and where I would like to see my life head.” [sic] She also mentioned that she can’t listen to some of the harder music she used to listen to because it makes her “tense.”
[Jourdanton, TX. Among surroundings such as this, Heather Thomas learned to be comfortable in silence.]
The fact that she identifies her use of media with feelings of calm and feelings of tension is very pertinent to my subject. Those are physiological responses. When Heather now hears harsh music, she becomes tense. Her physiological reaction to that music has changed because of her experience. I assume that before, she had become desensitized to it. I admit I am no expert on physiology, but I will certainly be on the lookout now for how certain music affects our minds and bodies.
I noticed similar things upon my return. For me, it was most pronounced with movies and the Internet. I couldn’t digest action movies, and every Internet screen was so cluttered and incomprehensible to me that it stressed me out. I’m (more or less) back to “normal” now, but the effects were real.