28 Jul 2017
28 July, 2017

Tune your brain

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Research and experience show that music has a huge impact on your mood, behaviour, mind-set and productivity. Have you ever experienced your mind wandering off when you need to get stuff done? Or, when you are watching TV and you try to be in a relaxed state of mind but you keep reading and answering emails and checking social media. When you try to sleep, you are restless and cannot seem to enjoy your sleep. On the one hand you could say, that is how it is as you probably lead a busy life. On the other hand, not being able to relax or focus when you need to, causes serious issues over time. If you don’t sleep well, you will experience issues when trying to focus and you can damage your health over time. If you’re not able to focus when you need to, that can cause problems at work… or even worse.

You might be wondering:

The right music (ambient tunes) can make your brain shift in the mood you are likely to have. In my previous article: ‘get more done with the right music’, I highlighted four brain wavelengths and how they impact your productivity level and state of mind. In addition to that, I listed a set of free listening tools to keep you more focused. In short:

  • For a productive and focussed state of mind, beta state is preferred
  • Need to relax then alpha state is the best for your brain
  • If needing to really catch-up on your lack of sleep than delta state is most suitable

To be more productive you should relax

Does that sound too good to be true? Well it is not. You cannot be 100% productive in your life. Since I live in Singapore, I see many people working really long hours and claiming to be highly productive. Think of this, if you would drive a sports car with a full fuel tank, you can only reach maybe 500km’s before it needs to be refuelled. Eventually, you need to check on water, oil and other lubricant levels as well. In short, the engine of a sports car (or your brain) needs to rest and be serviced.

Productivity techniques such as Pomodoro, state that you need to be productive and focus on 1 task for 25 minutes and take 5 minutes of rest and relax. Simply timing and ignoring all distraction will help you to do that. But how can you command your brain to focus for 25 minutes and then 5 minutes of total relaxation?

Here is the deal:

Playing the right tunes shifts your brain in the mode you want such as focus, relax, mediate, sleep and nap. Is it really that easy? Basically, YES!

What is Brain.fm?

The (paid) streaming service Brain.fm has conducted thorough research into tunes that stimulate and influence your brain to get in the right brainwave for the mode you require. The stream-service has created original (never heard before) stream sets for different states of mind. Each set is dedicatedly composed in helping you — the listener — achieve the requested brain state. The sets produce musical rhythms that sync up to your brain’s natural rhythm. The tunes affect your consciousness and energy accordingly for focus, relax, meditate, sleep and nap. The sets can be played for 30, 60, 120 minutes or infinitely. It is possible to skip to another set if you notice that the current set doesn’t put you in the preferred state of mind.

The co-founder of Brain.fm — Adam Hewitt — has done clinical research on the brain and music. Together with professionals in the company and other experts, they have developed tunes to help you to tune your mind to a specific state. If you want to learn more about the music and sets, the service has included background material.

Focus with Brain.fm

My working environment tends to be noisy, people constantly talking and on the phone. Whenever it is noisy at the office and I need to focus, I plug in my in-ear headphones, open Brain.fm on my iPhone and select focus. The very first time I tried Brain.fm it took 30 to 45 minutes of focus stream tunes to notice a change in state of mind. Brain.fm suggests listening for at least 15 to 30 minutes to notice results. The volume shouldn’t be too low otherwise it won’t work. Of course, don’t put the volume too high since you’ll be damaging your ears. It goes without saying but the quality of your headphones influences how Brain.fm works as well.
Nowadays, when I switch on the focus stream, it only takes up to 5 minutes to reach the right state of mind. The rhythms really influence your mind and before you know it you have done so much work which you couldn’t have done with about being focused. The focus streams really put you in ‘the flow’. I strongly suggest combining focus tunes with the Pomodoro technique.

Chill out the easy way

Busy people have a hard time relaxing and chilling out, for some that may seem contradictory. Binge-watching Netflix series doesn’t necessarily make you chilled and relaxed. As mentioned before you cannot be in beta state of mind continuously. Without relaxing there is no focus and vice versa.

Put on the relax tunes of Brain.fm and you’ll notice you’ll drift into a relaxed state of mind. The first time I tried it out, I was amazed at how quickly my state of mind changed. As Pomodoro technique states, after 2 hours of productive work with 5 minutes’ breaks, you need to rest for 30 minutes. Applying a timed relax session really helps to put your mind at ease so it can focus afterwards.

Convinced?

You can either take my word for it or just try the trial version with 10 free sessions via http://www.brain.fm. Try a focus and a relax stream to see if works for you.

If it helps you to tune your mind-set, you can purchase a monthly subscription (paid per month or annually or go for the lifetime).

Note: I have a paid lifetime subscription to Brain.FM and I enjoy using it; I am not paid to write this.

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