how to tune out noise

Many people wonder how to block out noise mentally so they reduce distractions and focus through background noise.  

We live in a world full of distractions.

Some of those distractions are environmental (like background noise), and others are internal, like stress.

The trained, enlightened mind knows how to tune out distractions. The unenlightened do not.

That’s why Zen monks can focus all day. They train their minds to be able to focus through distractions. They train with meditation [ [READ: Best meditations for concentration]]

The average person, on the other hand, has the focus of a fish.

The slightest background noise can make the untrained mind lose focus.

Distractions at home, office, school, or college, can seriously affect our productivity, our inner peace, and our happiness.

Thankfully, there are smart ways in which we can block or tune-out background noises. Doing so enables us to concentrate for longer, so we can keep our focus.

Ways To Tune Out Noice Mentally Or With Aids

benefits of focusing on one thing at a time

How To Block Out Noise Mentally With The FOCUS System 

One way how to tune out noise mentally is with the FOCUS system. This will help you to focus on studying, on work, on whatever you need to focus on.

If you cannot get quiet time in your house to focus, you will find that this system helps you block out noise mentally so you can concentrate.

FOCUS stands for “follow one course until successful”.

Essentially, this entire process is designed to stop you multi-tasking so you are more productive. Because focusing on one thing at a time is proven to be a lot more effective.

1. Meditate in the morning for early focus

For starters, when I wake up I’ll meditate. If I don’t meditate I will be unable to block out noise from external sources and I’ll be distracted all day.

So to start, sit yourself down in the morning and meditate (or just do it in bed).

After you’ve meditated for 20 minutes you will have focus temporarily.

But here’s the problem. You may very well lose focus because as you go through your day there’ll be more distractions vying for your attention than there are stars in the sky.

2. Choose one thing to do

When you’re ready to finish your meditation, ask yourself what’s the next thing I have to do.

Just ask yourself what the next thing you have to do is. Not the 100 next things you have to do, the one thing you have to do. If you have to eat breakfast, eating breakfast is the answer.

Right answer: “Eat breakfast”

Wrong answer: “Well, I have to have something to eat, and then I have to shower, and then brush my teeth, then I’ll have to phone work I suppose…”

Decide the one action you must take next. Meditate while doing that one action.

3. Take short breaks

When you finish doing that one thing, take a short break to just focus on breathing.

This is very important.

As you were completing your one action from above, you will have started to think about other things. You’re eating breakfast but you’re thinking about your meeting at work.

If you don’t erase those thoughts they’ll multiply until they’re swarming in your mind. Basic snowball effect: the one little thought gets bigger and bigger until that little snowball becomes a real issue.

So take a moment to focus on your breathing. This will clear your mind like cleansing scrubs clear your skin (consider how many times you wash your hands a day—you should wash your mind as frequently).

So, take a quick break to clear your mind.

4. Focus on the next thing

Decide on the next one thing you have to do. Do that mindfully, and repeat.

5. Use your breath

If at some time during the day you lose your focus, stop. Do breathing meditation for 20 minutes. 

6: Listen to meditation music

Whenever I am working on THE DAILY MEDITATION, I always listen to meditation music to help me focus

Meditation music is specifically composed to help with focus and concentration. This music uses specific frequencies of sounds to produce a calming effect that helps us to focus the mind.

This will make a huge difference in your ability to concentrate at work.

7. Use this powerful mudra for focus

You can use a mudra called the Hakini Mudra to focus your mind.

Mudras are hand gestures used in meditation and different belief systems.

Science shows that mudras can boost mental performance.

One mudra is especially important for mental focus. It’s called the Hakini Mudra. And it is simple to do.

This will help you with brain fog and clarity.

8. Learn to appreciate the sound

Human-beings tune-out sound using auditory selection.

Auditory selection is the process through which our brains tune-in to important sound and tune-out unimportant sound.

People who are easily distracted by sound may have lower auditory-selection skills than other people. This means they are less able to tune-out noise mentally.

There is a way around this:

The trick is to learn to accept the noise.

Here’s an example:

Imagine you don’t get along with a colleague at work (let’s call him Tom). Tom is a grouch and is often angry. Plus, he is always chewing gum. When you hear tom chewing gum you’re reminded of his anger. So the sound of chewing gum distracts you and makes you stressed because it makes you visualize Tom snapping at you.

But what would happen if you weren’t bothered by Tom’s anger? You would be less sensitive to Tom’s chewing because you’re no longer bothered by the reminders of his anger.

There is a root reason why certain sounds grate us. Weed-out that root cause and you will be less disturbed by the sound.

9. Use meditation to increase concentration 

There are two main types of meditation: open awareness and focused attention.

For focus, use focused-attention techniques.

Some methods of meditation can, however, cause problems.

Many people are surprised to hear that meditation can cause hypersensitivity to light and sound.

If you meditate and you are sensitive to sound, there could be a connection.

Some meditation techniques such as Dhyana can potentially cause this sensitivity. If you use this technique, try switching techniques. I particularly recommend grounding meditations. One of the best meditations for concentration is to use alpha meditation.

10. Cut out distractions by being more grounded

Have you ever noticed how there are times when you have excellent focus and times when you’re distracted by the slightest gust of wind?

How do we explain his aberration?

It’s like branches of a tree. The closer a branch is to the root of the tree, the less it will shake when the wind blows. The further away from the root we go, the more the branch will tremble and shake.

When we are close to our root we are more grounded and less likely to be disturbed.

When we are too easily distracted, we need to get grounded again. This is easy to achieve. Take a walk. Meditate. Have a laugh. Restore your spirits. When we are at peace within we are less distracted by the noise of others.

11. Use relaxing sounds to focus your mind

We can tune-out noise mentally by being more mindful of relaxing sounds.

Remember the last time you were utterly engrossed in a book. You were so absorbed in the book that you were hardly even aware of the sounds that usually distract you.

When we’re engrossed in a) what we’re doing, or b) a relaxing sound around us, we are less reactive to noise and distractions.

Here’s a smart idea:

Find a way to introduce a relaxing sound into your home or office. Then train your mind to focus on that sound instead of being distracted by unwanted background noise.

By training the mind to be more mindful of relaxing sounds we naturally tune-out distractions.

Smart strategies, aren’t they?

These enlightened ideas will help you to tune-out noise so other people don’t distract you.

Always remember to shield your inner peace from the noise of others.

 

How Good Are You At Blocking Out Noise And Distractions  

Many people have it bad. Some people have monkey-mind, which is essentially a restless mind that is incapable of ignoring noise and unable to concentrate.  

stages of focus monkey mind to monk

Some people suffer from misophonia (hyper-sensitivity to noise [1]). This is no mere distraction. People with misophonia can suffer from depression, anxiety and extreme anger caused by noise.

Many others suffer from general noise sensitivity.

A scientific study looked at 65,000 people and discovered that half of all workers are stressed by noises at work according to the Noise And Wellbeing At Work Survey

This is a failure of government and big corporations. We here at THE DAILY MEDITATION are advocating for companies and the government to do more to lower noise levels at work so employees are healthier.

Sadly, many people ignore these needs.

Many people who are incapable of booking out noise are judgmentally labelled as “high-strung” even though scientific research shows that sounds do indeed have real physiological effects and can seriously reduce productivity, performance, and inner peace.

An inability to avoid external distractions can lead to stress. This causes a rise in heartbeat, an increase in pulse, digestive problems, and many other health complications.

 If you, like me, are hypersensitive to sound, you may have looked for solutions without success.

Some of the obvious strategies simply don’t work for us. Headphones and ear-plugs can cause pain for people with ear complications. And it is not always possible to change our environment.

When we are stuck with the noise, we must train the mind to tune-out that noise mentally. 

Research shows how much time we waste due to distractions

Research shows we need to cut out distractions in order to improve productivity.

A survey by career builder showed just how much time people waste at work. The results were as follows:

TIME WASTED BY EMPLOYEES AT WORK

25% waste 1 hour
33% waste 2 hours
17% waste 3 hours
10% waste 4 hours
16% waste 5 hours or more

TOP SOURCES OF DISTRACTIONS AT WORK

Cell phone: 55%
Internet: 41%
Gossip: 39%
Social Media: 37%
Co-workers stopping by” 27%
Smoking: 27%
Email: 26%
Meetings: 24%
Noisy Coworkers: 20%
Sitting in a cubicle: 9%

Phones are the number one distraction. But why do people waste so much time on the phone?

WHY PEOPLE CHECK THEIR PHONES AT WORK

Personal Messaging: 65%
Weather Sites: 51%
News: 44%
Games: 24%
Shopping: 24%
Traffic Sites: 12%
Gossip: 7%
Sales: 6%
Adult Sites: 4%
Dating Sites: 3%

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About Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Paul, I just moved to a brand new house in a brand new development; however, I learned after moving in that it is in the direct flight path of all the north, northeast, east, south, and southeast bound air traffic of the airport nearby. How do I cope with the low flying aircraft noises that can appear any moment and any time of the day and night? I’m depressed and exhausted from sleep deprivation. I don’t want to take sleeping pills or prozac. What can I do? Thank you!

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