How to reduce stress by blocking noise

You have your heart set on a task and you’ll stop at nothing to get it done. It might be writing an important assignment, reading the final few chapters of that intense page turner or getting some sleep to catch that early train to work. The last thing you need is an irritating sound breaching the security of the walls you’ve hidden yourself behind to get this task done.

Whether it’s a dog barking, a car alarm going off (hopefully not yours), flatmates laughing or your neighbours having a heated argument, this noise nuisance is can be highly annoying.

Here’s a few tips on how to get that stress-free silence you’re after:

Keep calm and carry on

Some people have a short fuse, and can easily become worked up over even the faintest of sounds when something important needs to be done. Doing this can worsen the situation and your own stress becomes more distracting than the noise itself. In this situation, the best thing to do is try to calm your mind in a way that works best for you. Some enjoy forms of meditation, where you should sit up straight, control your breathing and think of soothing thoughts. This can be particularly useful when trying to get to sleep, as stress and sleep are not compatible ingredients.

Try to keep up this pattern of breathing and your calm thoughts, and you might find the noises that were getting on your nerves are now non-existent due to your new form of focus. If that doesn’t work for you, create your own ‘noise’. Finding a playlist of calming, lyric-less sounds can help cancel out any outside commotion.

Just White Noise

Another really useful thing to try is turning on a fan – such as a desktop ventilation fan set to its lowest speed. This noise is normally something you would avoid, but it’s about finding a positive noise. The white noise that emanates from the fan can help block outside noise from the room, but also allow you to concentrate without being too distracting. Additionally, you can download apps onto your phone such as ‘Sleep Cycle’, which has a list of soothing nature sounds such as an ocean breeze or rain on a window. These are sounds that your brain is used to, which means it won’t jeopardise your focus and should keep your stress levels to a minimum. You can invest in sound machines that emit similar white noise.

Gear up

When enough is enough, you have no choice but to get technical. If all else fails, grab a pair of ear plugs or headphones renowned for pure noise cancellation. These are sometimes given to people with extra sensitive hearing or used on a plane to help with ear-popping. These should guarantee you enough quiet to get you concentrated, inspired and calm. You can find cheap ear plugs on Amazon. They normally come in different shapes and textures to suit your comfort and sometimes have noise reduction ratings, so you can select your ear plugs depending on how severe the sound you are dealing with is.

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