Sitting in (Not So) Complete Silence

For some, the quiet can be peaceful. There are no distractions and a place for them to focus on their thoughts without any outside intrusions.

For others however, the quiet can be deafening and can cause them to feel incredibly anxious. The best way to describe this feeling is when you’re taking a test in a large room. It’s the feeling that something, anything, can happen at any second that can throw you off completely, and that uncertainty is stressful. Your mind can start to wander to places you don’t want it to and distract you if you have something you have to focus on.

This is where white noise comes in. It’s a middle ground between complete silence and busy noise. It’s not overwhelmingly loud and can ground you and your thoughts instead of letting them bounce around in a silent void. It’s known to help people calm down and relax and can help improve sleep quality. Others also claim that listening to this kind of ambient, background noise helps them focus better.

So knowing that it might be able to help you concentrate, sleep, or relax – where can you find white noise? There are websites and apps that provide customizable white noises, and Spotify’s playlists and Youtube videos of white noise go on for literally hours. There are other natural sources for them as well; if you live near a body of water or even just a fountain, you can take a walk around there for example. Fans also provide a white noise effect (you might even think that it sounds similar to beach waves). 

There’s a lot of positive things to be said about white noise and how it can help ground you for whatever you need, but at the same time, there isn’t much research to support the effects. One study even suggests that listening to white noise for long periods of time can have a negative effect on our central auditory system.

If you find white noise to be a source of comfort for you, make sure you listen to it at lower volumes if you can and don’t keep them on for extended periods of time.

How do you feel about white noise? Do you find silence to be comforting or would you rather be around more noise? Have you ever tried white noise as a way to focus, relax, or sleep?

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