Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Serenity Tools: The Sounds of Serenity

Until I became self-employed, the sounds around me were irrrelevant. I had no control over them so mostly ignored them. It wasn't until I was in a quiet room that I realized the constant screaming across the newsroom, the static-y police scanner and the hum of the computer did nothing but make me tense. Add to that my general propensity at the time to overwork and not set boundaries and what you had was the sound of stress.

So I wondered: How can you create the sound of serenity in your office?

There's actual research behind this. For nurses, for instance, researchers have found that abnormal sound levels contribute to stress and may even impede healing in the sick.

Another study found that the opposite may also be true: Pleasant sounds may mimic positive experiences:

We suggest that music specifically induces an emotional response similar to a pleasant experience or happiness. Moreover, we demonstrated the typical asymmetrical pattern of stress responses in upper temporal cortex areas, and suggested that happiness/sadness emotional processing might be related to stress reduction by music.

Having said that, I'm not much of a classical music gal. I much more favor wacky girl rock or emo rock on a regular basis. But when I have to work, none of that is very helpful. And one of the joys of self-employment is the ability to listen to music while I work.

So here is some music that helps me concentrate, get today's work done and remain calm:

Essential Beethoven
The Essential Tchaikovsky
Relaxing Vibes, Slavic Kulpowicz

What music gets you in a productive frame of mind?

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