Yosemite Adventure Guides Blog
Many studies have proven that taking a walk in the wilderness will reduce stress and help to improve the quality of your work, but what if you don't have time for a walk or you live in the city where the "wilderness" isn't reasonably reachable. If this is the case for you, I would recommend to "Crank up the volume," well to a relaxing level at least and start listening to the sounds of nature.
Research has suggested that nature sounds can decrease anxiety and pain in hospitalized patients(Bauer, 2011) and also facilitate recovery from sympathetic activation after a psychological stressor(Jesper, 2010). So imagine what it can do in the way of relieving a little work stress in the office on a demanding day.
In our new "Open Floor" plan lifestyle, we've sacrificed a lot in the way of working under our own required working conditions. I personally can't work efficiently when there are others chatting around me or the room is busy with "noise", and it seems that I'm not alone in this. Karin Zimmer, a sound quality researcher at Aalborg University in Denmark, recorded a 52.2% decrease in work performance when workers were exposed to only speech noise and she also measured errors in tasks like reading and writing(Zimmer, 2008).
With research showing that nature sounds can facilitate recovery from stress and that listening to co-workers talk all the time will decrease work performance, it's no wonder that Gallup reported that a lack of workplace satisfaction leads to workers feeling disengaged, and in the United States along, the cost of this disengagement is $450 to $550 billion in lost revenue per year(Gallup, 2013).
As an adventure guide in Yosemite, I'm blessed with having an office that requires me to hit the trial or stand in a river and enjoy the sounds of nature, yet there are many days when this is not the case. When I find myself "trapped" indoors, I'm always playing nature music that allows me to disconnect with stress and reconnect with my inner peace. Knowing that that sounds of birds and water have been used to relieve stress in situations like surgical procedures(Annerstedt, 2013), I'm truly confident that it will work when I'm stressing over emails and deadlines.
So if you are experiencing an over demanding day and you would like to lower your blood pressure, plug in the headphones and play some of the nature sounds I've added to this blog and start to lower your stress level and improve the quality of your work life. CLICK on the photos below to "Turn up the volume".
Authors Personal Preference
I play all three at the same time and create my own stress relieving atmosphere.
Flowing Creek @ 20% volume
Birds Singing @ 40 % volume
Focus Music @ 90 % volume
I'd be delighted to hear what your thoughts are if you give these a shot!