Research tells us that the more low frequency noises (approximately 40-62Hz) you absorb, the less effective your brain is in retaining information and learning new information. Low frequency noises can include: road, rail, sea and air traffic, refrigerators, washing machines, industrial fans and boilers. Large doses of these types of noises result in the brain being drained of vital energy. Subsequently, you are less able to concentrate and be productive, and then experience unhealthy stress. Likewise, sudden and loud sounds initiate the stress response in the body. Brain cells die if the body remains in a prolonged state of stress response. Some stress is healthy for individuals and the goal is to effectively manage that stress.
Bad forms of stress, such as feeling under threat or feeling overwhelmed and unable to concentrate, produce hormones in your body that generate emotional responses such as fear, rage, urgency, and anxiety. Good forms of stress, such as a promotion at work or a new relationship, activate a different set of hormones and neurotransmitters in the body. The brain’s response to good stress is mental alertness, a feeling of excitement, and happiness. Good stress can help people perform tasks more efficiently and improve memory. Good stress can improve heart function and make the body more resistant to infection. It is not something we need to eliminate from our lives because it stimulates us, helps us focus, keeps us healthier, and contributes to our happiness.
It would seem counterproductive to introduce more noise into your life when it was just mentioned that noise contributes to bad stress.However, enjoying high frequency noises like classical music, the sounds of nature or a bubbling fountain, can contribute to reducing your level of stress.
1. Listening to classical music for at least a few minutes every day can lower your blood pressure, lower your heart rate and recharge your mind. You can devote all of your attention to listening to this high-frequency noise, or use it as a backdrop while you go about your day. Consider engaging in gentle exercise, or sitting quietly and stretching your muscles, while listening to your favorite music. Studies support the positive physiological effects that high-frequency noise such as music has on reducing stress.
2. Take a walk. Many of the sounds of nature, which you intuitively know are relaxing, are high-frequency noises. The sounds of rustling leaves, bubbling water, bird calls, and the chirping of insects all contribute to the relaxation you feel when spending quiet time outdoors.
3. The sounds of silence. There are many sources of stress over which you feel you have no control. However, you should make an effort to arrange your immediate environment so it is conducive to times when you choose to be silent. If you are in a loud, harsh environment, you don’t feel relaxed even if you take the time to slow down and experience silence. You may not be making any noise yourself, but your surroundings are chaotic and intrusive. Introduce sources of high-frequency noise into your environment on purpose, or seek them out in the world around you. The times when you choose to be silent should leave you in a relaxed state. How much more relaxing it is to experience the sound of your own silence while sitting next to a waterfall or a bubbling fountain, or in a field of gently rustling grass!
Sources of low-frequency noise are everywhere. The sounds of transportation, industry, and the workplace can fill our lives with the wrong kind of stress. We all have enough time in our busy lives to seek out beneficial, high frequency noise that may lead to less overall life stress.