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Watercolour of Earth

April 22, 2022

Ambient soundscapes and focus

Did you know today is Earth Day? An annual event that advocates for environmental protections. Prompted by Earth Day thoughts, here’s a great approach to consider for your work or study day. Use soundscapes to declutter your overloaded mind. Random environmental or ambient sounds can focus attention and regulate emotions like stress. Ambient noises can enhance performance generally. Even better it can bolster your creative vibes! Ambient soundscapes with a natural element are particularly good for focus and mood. 

Ever noticed video games like Mario, Pokémon and Zelda have ambient soundtracks? Looping background sounds can help to shape your gameplay. A chilled-out soundtrack makes for relaxed exploration of endless game landscapes. Boss level fights have background sounds or music that increase our edge-of-seat focus.  In fact, our digital worlds are full of ambient noises – whether it’s gaming, digital workspaces or online learning.

Dew drops on pine needles

Photo by Sitthan Kutty from Pexels

The steady rhythm and harmony in ambient sound helps us to concentrate on tasks that gaming asks of us. Things like problem solving, creative choices in moves or actions, paying attention to contextual information and decision-making. All of which can also apply to work, study or pretty much any life task. Listening to ambient soundscapes can provide a buffer to distracting sounds. Compared to listening to other music that can have sudden changes in tempo and dynamics. Maybe it’s just us, but we have found distracting noises when working from home can cause us to lose focus. Somedays you might hear garbage trucks collecting bins, nearby construction, gardeners trimming hedges or dogs barking. Now back in the office, our focus can fracture because of sounds like doors opening and closing, phones ringing, or even work chatter. Apparently almost half of us find people talking in the office distracting.    

So, we’ve put together a curated list of nature based or “earthly” soundscape options for focus: 

Lastly, here’s a tip that can help with your ambient soundscape choices. As ABC Classic’s weekend host and practicing psychologist Greta Bradman advocates, “Steer clear of lyrics and words and just really get into something that is repetitious, predictable, enjoyable and … meet the world in flow.” 

Post authored by Kat Cain and Emeka Anele.

Posted byElizabeth Delacretaz

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