Guide to Doing Nothing: Noisli

June 20 2016


Natural sounds such as falling rain and rustling leaves are natures original white noises. Those sounds cover a wide range of our audible spectrum, drowning out the noises that may cause distractions or inhibiting our ability to relax. The consistant pitter-patter masks masks any spikes in sound, no shocks or surprises.  Moreover, our brain associates the sound of a light summer storm or the blowing wind through leaves as “non-threats” thus facilitating a state of relaxation and calm.

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Listening to the refreshing sound of a mountain stream has several great benefits. The randomness of the sound makes it an ideal natural masking sound facilitating concentration and enhancing cognitive function. Humans need water for life, and in our brains is a deeply encoded love for the sound of fresh, babbling water sources. Sitting by a river or just listening to flowing water will make you feel more awake, refreshed and lift the general mood.

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The calming sound of waves are very soothing and give a restorative feeling of relaxation and tranquillity. The regular pattern of the waves help us to enter in a meditative state and to relieve stress and anxiety, often the soft woosh of crashing waves is compared to the sound inside a mother’s womb, a deeply ingrained comfort to our brains. The sound of the seaside can also trigger our nostalgia for peaceful moments spent on the seaside.

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Hearing birds singing signals the starting of a new day. This natural sound stimulates us cognitively and makes us more alert and awake – there is a reason the rooster’s crow is the original alarm clock. At the same time, birds only sing if they feel no threat to the safety of themselves or their community, and our brains have learned to interpret their song as a signal of safety and relaxation.

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No matter if you try to concentrate or relax, the inconstancy of the ambiance sound or silence is often the cause of what is distracting you. Listening to a constant background sound such as brown, pink or white noise, can help you to enter in a state of flow. A variation on the consistant White Noise, Brown Noise is actually named for Scottish botanist Robert Brown, who discovered a phenoninon known as Brownian Motion which is the source for the low, dull sound we now refer to as Brown Noise. Closer to a hum or buzz than white noise, Brown noise is great to accompany you while writing, reading but also to lull you or your baby to sleep.

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Noisli is a digital sound machine, productivity and relaxation tool based in Berlin. 

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