Listen to Nature!

Add nature audio to decompress and refresh.

Posted Feb 06, 2020

At this time of year many of us are keeping our windows closed. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter, so heating systems are in use, and in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s summer and lots of air conditioners are running—to conserve resources, financial and environmental, that heating and cooling means it will be some time before most of us open our windows again.

There are lots of reasons why open windows improve our lives, beyond the benefits of natural ventilation. One of them is the fact that for many of us, when the windows are open we can, at least sometimes, hear nature sounds. Natural sounds boost our wellbeing and help us keep stressors in check.

Burbling brooks. Gently rustling leaves. For most people, hearing these sorts of nature sounds indoors not only improves mental and physical wellbeing but cognitive performance as well. The sorts of sounds you might hear in a meadow on a lovely spring day, such as slightly moving leaves and water and calm bird calls, have desirable effects on our thoughts and behaviors.  

Nature sounds are great stress busters. Hearing them when we’re trying to calm down after a tension-packed meeting can help us decompress and move on with our day with blood pressure readings that don’t alarm our doctor. A spring meadow soundscape can be a relaxing addition to a physician’s waiting area or the space in front of a TSA checkpoint.

Hearing nature sounds not only helps us feel less frazzled but also helps us restock our mental energy after we’ve depleted it, concentrating while doing knowledge work, for example. Each of us has a store of cognitive processing power that is drained as we do focused thinking. When our mental energy stocks run down, not only does our ability to do mental work degrade, but we get irritable. These effects can be countered by hearing nature. Research has also directly linked hearing nature sounds to enhanced cognitive performance.

The sorts of nature sounds that seem to be best, in terms of psychological payoff, are the kinds that are heard on an idyllic day—soft breezes, flowing streams, and serene bird calls. Howling monkeys, screaming birds, and hurricane-force winds, etc., make us feel more stressed.  

Nature soundtracks are readily available online so it’s pretty easy to get hold of some audio nature.  

You’ve added potted plants and natural materials to your world, and they’ve improved your lived life. Now it’s time to add a nature soundscape to your home (and office, if you can).