If only there was some brain enhancing music that you can just switch on whenever you’re feeling demotivated. We all know the feeling – when you’re feeling deflated and you wish there was something external to pump you up.
We may not be there yet with audible brainwashing (and that’s probably a good thing) but whenever I’m lacking motivation, there are a few audio tracks I instantly gravitate to that seem to get me back into a positive work state.
The first type of audio is known as binaural beats or brain entrainment tracks.
If you’ve spent any time searching for hacks to improve your studies, you have probably already encountered binaural beats. If not, all you need to know is that binaural beats are pulses that attempt to mimic brainwaves in different states of arousal.
- Alpha and beta beats are high in tempo and mimic the brainwaves of a person who is highly alert, engaged in exercise, or performing rigorous logical work.
- Delta and theta beats are low in tempo and mimic the brainwaves of a person who is sedentary, meditating, relaxed, or asleep.
There is more to it than that but that’s all you need to know to get started benefiting from binaural beats.
Before I get into specific recommended tracks, I’ll just point out that these beats attempt to influence your brainwaves, and thus your state of motivation, happiness, relaxation, and so forth, but they have not been scientifically proven.
Many people will gleefully point out that binaural beats have no basis in scientific reality.
Personally I have no time for that debate or anyone who refuses to try binaural beats just because there “isn’t scientific proof”.
There is a lack of scientific proof for many things that actually work for certain individuals.
We can talk about the placebo effect and all that until the cows come home. All I know is that certain binaural beats have a real, tangible effect on my mood, outlook, and motivation.
- I have used binaural beats to relax, meditate, destress.
- I have also used them to get into a flow state, to write, and to study information with high motivation.
When it comes to binaural beats, you are spoiled for choice.
There are many fantastic YouTube channels that have great beats.
I will give you my recommendations but the key is to experiment with finding the ones that work for you because we are all different.
Here are the binaural beat tracks that work for me:
Binaural beats for motivation (great for speedy work):
Binaural beats for creativity (great for writing papers):
Binaural beats for memory (great for focus and retention):
Get a good pair of headphones
I find binaural beats work best with a great pair of noise cancelling headphones.
- These are the ones I use and recommend.
Put the noise level low enough so you can just about hear it but not too noisy that you get distracted.
I also find it helps to layer the beats beneath other tracks, either music or soundscapes.
Atmospheric soundscapes have been the most useful audio tool in my arsenal for academic excellence.
I don’t know why but they just get me into the zone within minutes.
Maybe it’s because they offer a repetitive noise that blocks out the surrounding world?
My favourite soundscapes include:
- Rain and thunder
- Coffeeshop chatter
- Rainforest noises
- Waves and waterfalls
- White noise
Rain soundscape recommendations:
Coffeeshop chatter recommendations:
Rainforest noise recommendations:
Waves and waterfall recommendations:
White noise recommendations:
Other soundscapes I enjoy for variety:
You might be the kind of person who works best to actual music.
During my Oxford studies, I had a strange mixture of go-to music. I listened to Rhianna, Disclosure, and Ben Howard. Many people thought these were strange choices because I would listen to them while studying Chaucer, Donne, and Pope.
I never got distracted because I already knew the words so well that the songs just blended into the background.
Nowadays, however, I cannot study or concentrate on work if the music has lyrics. I think I’m now in the majority of people on that one. So the music I choose to listen to while writing or studying is simply instrumental and unobtrusive.
It has a beat that gives me a desired effect. Either it’s simple and calming if I need to engage in abstract thought, or it’s fast paced with a beat if I want to hit a flow of writing or pick up speed in my studies.
Here are some of my favourite musical tracks for getting into the mood of studying or working:
Music for studying:
There are studies that show music as being a positive force on your work and motivation.
There are also studies that show it as being a hindrance.
What this says to me is that it comes down to individual difference. If you’re the type of person that works well with music, these tracks are pretty powerful one.
If you are the type of person that notices a positive effect when listening to music, start curating and building your own go-to study playlist that will never fail to get your pumped and in the zone.
Those are some of my favourite binaural beats, soundscapes, and study music recommendations.