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Can't meditate? I think you should try taking your headphones off

capital fm radio presenter Kemi Rodgers standing in the radio studio in a black mini dress wearing headphones and smiling at the camera
It's me, hi, I'm the girl with the headphones, it's me

As an avid audio lover, I’m going to encourage you to take your headphones off

I know that the word ‘audio’ sounds pretentious here, but I don’t just mean music - I’m including radio, podcasts, audiobooks and voice notes from your mates in this broad term. I’m a big lover of all of these - in fact, I will listen back to my own four-minute voice note just to check I’ve covered all the details. However, I’ve recently discovered the importance and joy of taking your headphones off.

I say this as someone who usually wears headphones 99.9% of the time - whether that’s at work (I’m a radio presenter, so this does make sense), during a commute, or on a walk. I could be popping to the post office (one minute away) but I’ll still make sure that short trip is being soundtracked by something, anything.

Even on a walk (often to Tower Bridge, guilty) I’m listening to either music, or more often than not, a podcast. If I’m feeling the need to be inspired, I’ll listen to Diary of a CEO or Jay Shetty; noting down things successful people do; or I’ll be listening to No Such Thing As A Fish or The News Agents - always absorbing facts and current affairs. The point is, I’m listening to things that give me knowledge, because I feel like I need to constantly be ‘working’ (addicted to hustle culture, am I right?!)

Maybe you’re like me, constantly plugging your ears with audio - being your own favourite DJ, switching genres and podcast episodes with ease, carefully curating the perfect soundtrack for your day. But have you tried taking your headphones off?

Controversial, I know.

I did this a few weeks ago and think I accidentally meditated, for the first time in my life.

I’ll level with you, I don’t (or can’t) meditate. It has been something I had occasionally tried - laying down, relaxing my jaw like the softly spoken American lady on YouTube says, trying to batter away any thoughts which come as thick and fast as a tennis ball machine with a personal vendetta, only for me to give up and listen to a historical podcast instead.

But during a sunny late-afternoon walk around a park; instead of concentrating on the various sounds being pummelled into my ears, I simply listened to what was around me - snippets of juicy conversation as groups of friends stroll past with iced drinks clattering in plastic cups, the rustle of wind through the trees and the whirring of e-scooters as they hurtle past (granted, this last one isn’t painting an idyllic picture, but I live in London, what do you expect).

Back to meditating. Whilst I was picking up on all these sights and sounds around me, it was only 45 minutes into this walk that I realised I wasn’t thinking about anything but these surroundings. Usually my mind is littered with thoughts like “who do I need to email” and “I need to add about five things to my ever-growing to do list”, but instead, I was focused on the various flowers that were blooming, the geese waddling near the lake, the sound of my own footsteps on gravel (one of the most satisfying noises, who’s with me) and the thwack of tennis balls being hit over a net.

All pretty standard things we see in life, but for a mind that is constantly whirring, I can tell you how utterly blissful it was for a moment of stillness in my head.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still spending most of my time with a pair of headphones practically fused to my sides of my head, but I’m being conscious to sometimes, just sometimes, immerse myself in the world around me.

You might also find your best ideas come to you whilst in the shower, which is because you are so preoccupied with the daily routine of lathering yourself up, that your mind doesn’t have to think about it - therefore has the time and space to go elsewhere for those minutes. Taking your headphones off once in a while and truly living in the moment can allow that creative mindset.

So if you get that million-dollar idea after taking my advice, give me a 5% cut yeah?



Thanks for reading!

Sometimes I prefer just getting my thoughts out on the ol' proverbial digital page - sometimes I like writing about fashion and sometimes I like to write about societal happenings. For a bit more of an insight into myself, click below:

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