“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” – Maya Angelou
That is precisely my favorite thing about headphones – they let you immerse into a world of your own, a world that is impervious to noise pollution. It has never been easier to enjoy life at your own pace; all you need is your favorite tune and a pair of headphones.
Never has a song sent more shivers down my spine or made my arm hair stand up straight than when I heard it through headphones. Music actually does sound better through headphones, and we can thank our brains and physics for making it happen.
Headphones have become a vital piece of equipment in our daily lives as they have the power of setting the atmosphere we like in everyday chores. As with most people, I find headphones to be most useful while commuting, but the experience applies to almost anything. I’ve seen window washers with headphones, morning joggers keeping the rhythm with the music, even people enjoying a bench in the park while being dazzled by music.
I’ll leave the music choice to you, but when it comes to headphones, there are certain things you should consider to get the best feeling and the best quality to price ratio.
1. Type of Headphones
Type of headphones basically translates to the choice between earbuds and over-the-ear headphones. People that have used both can testify to the fact that even though they serve the same purpose, they are actually entirely different.
Earbuds are, because of their size are easier to store and carry around (i.e. in your pocket). They tend to be less expensive than their counterparts, but their type and size carry along a whole set of problems. Frequently falling out of ears and even ear pain are the reasons I gave up on earbuds. Another reason is that they simply produce lower quality sound even if they are made by well-known companies.
Over-the-ear headphones are the ones that we all imagine a DJ wearing, and there is a reason behind it. They are bulky and a bit awkward to carry around all day but they more than make up for it by giving you the best sensation possible.
They are perceived as being extremely pricey, but the truth is that you can get a decent pair for at a lower price. Check out the best headphones under $100 for example. Except for the superb sound quality, over-the-ear headphones are easier to wear and much less harmful than earbuds.
2. Noise blocking
Noise blocking is crucial for a quality pair of headphones. There is nothing worse than having to turn the volume up to maximum so you can overpower the sound of the annoying music in a bus. Not only will that hurt your ears in the long run, but you also might not even be able to play it as loud to negate outside noises.Advertising
Take a look whether the headphones have an open or closed back which will probably tell you the most about the quality of sound isolation. Open-back headphones do have a more appealing sound but are at the same time more liable to unwanted sounds. Closed-back headphones will give the bass a nice boost, negate the outside effects but will suffer in the quality department.
I have found that the special noise-cancelling types aren’t really worth the money. It will take at least $250 for a decent pair, and still you will be left with having to turn up the volume wasting precious battery life .
When it comes to frequency, try to find headphones with the largest range possible. Roughly said, human hearing ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and that is basically your target area if you want to hear the entire spectrum.
However, headphones differ in the sound curve. The sound curve is an indicator of what the manufacturer meant to emphasize in the sound. High-priced headphones are well-rounded and place no distinctions between the lower and higher frequencies. In practice, this is often not a great trait.
Less expensive headphones have a U curve meaning that you will probably hear the low and high frequencies better. As oppose to higher-priced headphones this means that you will really feel that bass in a song. Simply put, higher-priced headphones do give a better sound, but at a price of sounding bland and monotonous – something you don’t want when listening to music.Advertising
Impedance is a well-known term from high-school frequently used in electrical circuits and is shown in ohms (Ω). I don’t want to get all boring and technical so let’s just say impedance plays a significant role in playing music through headphones.
Lower impedance (less than 25 Ω) in headphones means that they require fewer amounts of power to transmit sound. 25 Ω is quite enough when playing music from phones, Ipads, and similar devices but what happens when you need a more powerful sound as a DJ might.
DJs use headphones that have 25 to 70 Ω of impedance, so they don’t “blow out” their headphones when using sound amplifiers. If you are not going to use headphones professionally, you should stick to low impedance headphones (far less expensive) but keep in mind the devices you are going to pair them with.
5. Try Them On
This is basically the best advice I can give you about getting yourself a decent pair of headphones. It doesn’t matter if someone gets technical or tries to explain by using their own words; there is no way to present the feeling you get from certain headphones.Advertising
Ask a friend to lend you his pair (if they are something you would consider buying) and plug them into your device. Have your device ready with music you are most fond of and simply listen to how they perform.
Another way to test headphones is to try them on at the store. Most audio stores will let you try the headphones without charge so you can decide from your own experience.
6. The Experience is No One’s but Your Own
Whatever headphones you choose just remember to use them responsibly. Be careful while behind the wheel and try not to play the music louder than you need it to be.
The wonderful world of music is for you to discover and I bet a quality pair of headphones can only make it better. Let the music set you free and allow me to quote Neil Young – “Keep rocking in the free world!”
Last Updated on December 9, 2019
5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively
Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it, plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!
Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.
Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:
1. Get Rationally Optimistic
Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.
This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.
In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”
The result: no more mental stress.
Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.
How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.
It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.
3. Easy on the Caffeine
Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.
Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.
4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door
That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.
How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:
- Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
- St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
- Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.
While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.
5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise
This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.
The result: mental stress will be gone!
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.
More to Help You Feel Relaxed
- The Importance of Scheduling Downtime
- 3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Relax and Reduce Stress
- How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressed
Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com