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Use Earplugs

No doubt you’re used to tuning out background noise, but Cornell University doctors say your brain may be more wound up by the constant racket than you realize. In their surprising study, as little as three hours of low-level background noise -- the kind caused by people chatting, radios droning, washers running, phones ringing and cars honking -- increased stress levels so dramatically, it cut people’s ability to focus and think clearly by 40 percent. To build some silence into every day without inconveniencing the folks around you, put in earplugs whenever you’re trying to concentrate. You could cut your stress levels in half within three days, says Wilkes.

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