All About Green Noise
Have you ever drifted off to sleep to the calming hum of white noise? Now, imagine a sound even more relaxing and reminiscent of nature. This “green noise” differs from the static quality of white noise. Its mid-range frequencies evoke tranquil, natural sounds, such as the lapping waves of the ocean or the rustling of tree leaves.
Online video platforms have seen an increase in green noise content as users seek to immerse themselves in natural sounds to de-stress, focus and sleep more soundly. There is still much research to be done regarding green noise’s potential benefits to the brain, but we can look at how similar sounds typically impact us.
A noteworthy study published by Frontiers in Psychology followed 71 mentally fatigued college students. Over a span of four weeks, half of those students utilized a nature-sound mobile app for 30 minutes a day while working on academic tasks. By the study’s conclusion, they outperformed the control group in psychological well-being, cognitive performance, attention span, and working memory.
While comprehensive studies of green noise are still in the pipeline, its slightly lower-pitched cousin, pink noise, shows promising effects on sleep. In a study published by the Journal of Theoretical Biology, pink noise, such as rain or wind, greatly improved sleep quality by synchronizing brain waves and reducing their complexity.
Another study funded by the Swedish Research Council gauged how sounds of nature affected the electrical conductivity of the skin after a stressful mental exercise. When compared to high, low and ambient noise, natural sounds better facilitated recovery from stress.
Whether you use a noise machine, online videos or natural surroundings, green noise could be the next big bang in self-care.
Hobbies for Relaxation
Relaxation is more than lingering in a bubble bath or lounging on a beach. Many people turn to crafting to practice mindfulness, relieve stress and express themselves creatively. Even if you don’t view yourself as particularly “crafty,” here are some fun projects you can enjoy as you feel your anxiety slip away.
Add a splash of color to your world with a paint-by-number canvas, or go old-school with adult coloring books. If you feel really creative, grab some sketch paper and let your imagination soar.
Keep your hands busy and your mind focused with woodworking, knitting or crocheting. Bonus — these handmade creations make great gifts for friends and family.
Preserve cherished memories through scrapbooking. Use photos, cut-outs, playful backgrounds, and natural elements to commemorate a family vacation or special school year.
Get Out of Your Head
Do you ever feel like your brain is a runaway train and you’re just along for the ride? The National Alliance on Mental Illness says more than 40 million adults in the U.S. experience anxiety, a key driver for a spinning mind. Here are some indicators that you may be “living in your head.”
- Worrying about what might happen by focusing on worst-case scenarios.
- Decision-making feels overwhelming, no matter how big or small.
- Maintaining control is how you avoid the unexpected.
Thankfully, there are ways to get out of your head and ease anxiety.
- Think through what’s worrying you. Does a problem really exist, or is it just an endless list of possible scenarios? Use exercise, meditation or breathing techniques to cope and gain composure.
- Allow logic to dictate priorities and devote less energy to minor decisions.
- Recognize that the need to control yourself and others is actually anxiety. Ask yourself what you’re really worried about, then bravely let go.
Composting is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint and live more sustainably. Start with these tips.
- Purchase an outdoor compost bin, or build one yourself by following an online tutorial.
- Begin by placing a layer of sticks at the bottom for drainage. Add food scraps, yard waste and compostable paper products.
- Place your bin in sunlight to activate compost mixtures.
- Keep a shovel handy to speed up decomposition.
If this process is more than you want to take on, consider purchasing a countertop bin that works at the push of a button. Or, drop off your scraps at a local compost facility where they might offer organic compost in return at a discount.
Creamy Vegetable Pasta Salad
1 (16 oz.) pkg. tri-color rotini pasta
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups chopped asparagus
½ cup mayonnaise
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 medium cucumber, quartered and sliced
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Cook pasta according to package instructions. About 2 minutes before pasta is fully cooked, add fresh broccoli and asparagus. Drain pasta and vegetables. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, ranch mix, and garlic powder. Add cooled pasta mixture, remaining raw vegetables and cheese. Toss to coat.
Cover pasta salad and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
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