Why we worry is not yet completely clear. It is probably a reaction to uncertainty. We are naturally inclined to look for solutions to problems. There is nothing wrong with that. Thoughts only become annoying if you get stuck with a negative thought and can’t get rid of it when you end up in worry mode.
Sometimes people feel that one worrying thought provokes another. Before you know it, a vicious circle of worry emerges. Many people suffer from that. Sometimes thought trains rush through our minds. One thought leads to the next, and that provokes another thought. These thoughts work associatively; therefore, part of one thought can become a different part of another.
This association is often subconscious and creates all kinds of thought detours. Much of what we think about is triggered by distractions in the environment. For example, you hear the sound of a vacuum cleaner at the neighbours and think of your house that also needs to be vacuumed. The train of thought usually doesn’t stop there. The rest of the house also needs to be cleaned. And it would be best if you also did the shopping before your in-laws visit at the weekend. Before you know it, you’re worrying about getting everything done, including mowing the lawn, just like the neighbour started doing.
What is White Noise?
White noise resembles the sound that television used to make when programs stopped broadcasting, and the screen went gray. White noise contains a broad spectrum of sound, consisting of many different frequencies that also occur in the environment: voices, a neighbour vacuuming, a car driving by… So it masks the ambient noise.
Masking is not the only reason that white noise can help against worrying. There is a second reason: our brains cannot detect any sound structure because all those frequencies are about the same volume. The brain will adjust to a kind of unity of sound and stops interpreting all kinds of separate aspects.
Just think of a busy coffee shop. At first, you hear all the conversations and stirring coffee spoons. But after a while, you don’t notice all those sounds separately. That’s why white noise doesn’t only counteract worrying. It also works very well to stay focused and concentrate on complex tasks. White noise, therefore, keeps you easily getting distracted.
Other Noise Colours
Besides white noise, other “noise colours” also exist. Incorporating “noise therapy” into your daily routine can help you feel more focused and less fatigued, and sustain more extended periods of attention.