Noise – Gaining Focus and Reducing Stress


One of the things that annoyed the Grinch about Christmas in Whoville was all the noise, noise, noise, noise. A lot of noise can be stressful. It can block out softer sounds that you are trying to hear. If you are trying to study or trying to get work done that requires the concentration of all your cognitive faculties, noise can keep you from hearing your own thoughts.

Sometimes you want background noise, like the TV playing, to make you feel connected while you work. We can turn on the radio, but sometimes our favorite music makes us feel more like dancing than working. Studies have been done that have attempted to prove softly played classical music in the background helps people, students in particular, perform better on cognitive tasks than when the classical music is not playing.

Of course the Grinch was bothered by the noise of celebration, the singing, the being part of a loving community, the sounds of joy. The Grinch didn’t feel like he belonged. He didn’t feel loved. So he didn’t feel like participating in the singing himself or hearing the happiness in the hearts of the Who’s.

For me the idea of noise and eliminating noise when I am trying to work is not a hard and fast rule, but a concept that requires flexibility. Sometimes I can work regardless of what is going on around me. Other times I need complete quiet. And still other times there are relaxing sounds and conditions that, no matter what cannot calm my spirit and help me focus on the task at hand.

So, just as the Grinch felt better at the end of the story and was able to join in the celebration, I need to check my attitude and my mood, and maybe take a short break. I also need to experiment with what sounds calm my spirit without lulling me to sleep and promote my ability to accomplish the task at hand.

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