I find when I get immersed in my environment, the ambient noise of the background fades away.
If I’m watching a YouTube video, eating, writing, coding––doing really anything that requires attention––some noises in my environment are muffled.
Noises that are consistent and periodic––like the hum of a ventilator or the ticking of a clock––are clearly subject to this phenomenon.
The clock exudes the same sound waves with the same frequencies, every second.
I only hear the ticking of the clock when I give focus to it, though.
The sounds are consistent and expected. As such, my brain can discern the pattern and filter it out as noise. Only sounds that deviate from the pattern of background noise receive my attention.
The brain’s ability to do this is phenomenal. It prevents us from focusing on every sound in our environment.
Conversely, it’s very powerful to intentionally make yourself aware of the sounds in your environment.
It’s a great exercise to live in the present moment.
Pause right now.
Listen carefully, deeply, and intentionally to your surroundings.
What noises can you truly hear?
I hear my fingers hitting my keyboard, a low-pitched hum of a lawnmower outside, and a pair of chirps between two birds.
With elevated focus, I learn of the faint buzz from my monitor, and the escape of breath from my nostrils.
I hear the whistle of cold wind as it enters through the cracked open window and the static of my Grandmother’s radio through the walls of my room.
Whenever I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, this exercise helps ground me and calibrate me against my environment.