Pleasant sounds have the ability to bring us instant stress relief. “White noise” sounds that come from nature sound machines or trickling mini-fountains create a blank slate for the human brain to relax. If you don’t have a sound machine, try listening to what’s closest in nature: leaves rusting, the wind blowing, rain falling or waves crashing. Turn on beautiful music while you do work. And smile. This will ease up the strain on your middle-ear muscles, which in turn softens low-frequency noises such as traffic or ambient conversation.