Do Sounds Affect Our Thoughts?
This question can be quite vague depending on which way you are thinking about it. If you are trying to study, does music help you think more? If you said yes, how do you think that is possible? Since you will be also subconsciously listening to the music while also trying to think and remember certain words or phrases? You may not be wrong, as each person is very different from another!
There have actually been studies that have shown how much of an affect music can have on our minds! In one study, results showed that certain types of music actually put participants into the mood of that particular song. If the song was sad, the facial expressions of the contributors were sad, and the same went for happy songs and more! I wouldn’t say this is very surprising, as if they were listening to the lyrics, they could have connected certain situations and feelings to previous experiences. Moreover though, did you know that background noise or low levels of noise can actually increase your processing speeds and creativity. Crazy how the mind works, but on the other hand, higher levels of sound actually decrease your processing productivity, as your brain is actually using tons of power to block out some or all of that noise. So, if you’re trying to be creative or productive, be sure to turn on some ambient music, but be sure to keep the volume at a low level!
While we are talking about loud noises affecting our thought processing, it is important to remember that these can really affect our thoughts. If we are using much of our brainpower to block out loud noises, we don’t have as much to use on thoughts that we actually need to focus on. Lately, we have been talking about meditation and how it can benefit us greatly, especially with our mindfulness. This correlates directly with that. Many people believe that meditation needs to be done in complete silence. Well, we just discovered that this isn’t the case at all! In fact, turn on some ambient music, at a very low volume during your next session and see if it makes a difference. One thing that I recommend is putting sounds on, weather it be water sounds, forest sounds, or whatever you desire, but try to wander away from musical bands or groups, as the lyrics and memories that develop during a song you personally know can easily distract your thought process, especially as a beginner.
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Kim Shapira MS, RD