Refresh your environment
Some of us enjoy music while studying and are happy to work in coffee shops or trains, while others need complete silence to be able to focus.
The impact of the background sounds on the performance of the task primarily depends on the individual’s personality, type of the task, and the characteristics of the background sounds.
Some people find noise distracting, and like wearing noise cancelling headphones or ear protectors when studying. Others enjoy background sounds, and use different apps.
Try a new sound experience
Did you know that colours in your environment can have an effect on your mood, memory and performance?
Colour is not just represented in vision, and it can evoke emotional responses, aesthetic judgements, and associations to objects and concepts. There is also a growing body of recent evidence that colour can affect performance on cognitive tasks.
However, responses to colour tend to be very subjective. The best way to explore what your preferences are to vary the colours in your environment and study materials and see if this helps you engage more efficiently with your work.
Try a new colour experience
- Wear sunglasses or glasses with a coloured tint
- Buy a colour-changing lamp
- Look up light projectors online (or for a cheaper version, set a picture of a colour on your laptop, and then let the glow fill a darkened room)
- Change your bedsheets, duvet covers and clothes.
Smell is our biological reaction to airborne chemicals and the most evocative of all the senses. During our lives we create unique associates between what we smell and what we see, hear and feel.
The connection between smell and memory happens to be a directly physical one. This nearness links the emotional brain to the smell receptors more closely than to any other sense. In principle, using smells to study is simply the association of the smell with a fact, concept, or idea. Scent could be used to recall contexts or in particular, to enhance our memory recall.
Many people use aromatherapy to create an atmosphere where they can relax, destress and unwind, or focus and be more alert.
Try a new scent experience
- Look into aromatherapy and essential oils
- Try new perfumes, aftershaves, soaps and bodywashes
- Enjoy the smell of foods and drinks, like fresh-ground coffee
Different types of seating provide different types of sensory feedback. It's important that your work desk is set up correctly to avoid any pain or injuries.
You might also try some alternatives, especially when doing non-computer work or just relaxing.
Whatever seating arrangement you choose, try to avoid sitting down for long periods of time and make sure to stand up or stretch regularly.
Try new ways of sitting
- Rocking back and forth in a rocking chair or a swing provides calming, soothing vestibular feedback.
- Sinking into a bean bag and letting it mould to your body offers a relaxing deep pressure.
- Wobble cushions encourage active sitting, they provide your body with proprioceptive feedback as you move. The raised surface also provides tactile sensory feedback.
Our tactile sense has the largest sensory organ as it is the whole of our skin. This not only senses externally when we touch things and things touch us but also internally, recognising pressure, pain and temperature.
During stressful times, some people find that using sensory objects or fidgets provides a calming tactile feedback and stress relief, as well as aiding focus. We all have different preferences in terms of texture and other tactile elements, so it worth trying a few different objects or even making your own to suit you perfectly.
Try a new tactile experience
- Wear really tight clothing, or really loose clothing.
- Try a heavy weighted blanket
- Look into massaging your body, or "brushing" parts of your body
- Draw in sand or salt; get cooking, painting or sculpting.
- Use therapy putties or hand-strengtheners
Poor lighting reduces the effectiveness of the brain’s power to gather data. And full-spectrum natural lighting works best to improve behaviour, create less anxiety and stress, and improve overall health.
Where possible, especially when you can't get outside for a while, try studying next to a window - but try not face the direct sunlight because it may be distracting and too bright. With artificial lights, low lighting is preferable to overhead lighting, especially with fluorescents lights.
Try a new light experience today
- Colour-changing lights
- Fairy lights
- Fake rechargeable candles
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lights - these can help to boost your mood, especially when you can't go outdoors as much as normal.