Learn Through Play

our blog

A woman listening to music with her headphones

Mindful Sound: The Power of Silence & Music

‘Silence is golden’. Leaders throughout the ages have looked to quiet for insight, experiencing what Emily Dickinson called “an appetite for silence”. We can use intentional time without sound to manage stress and transition between roles in daily and work life.

Similarly, sound can be used as a play tool to fuel productivity when we play music in an intentional way. Noise, on the other hand – can be overwhelming, especially when we are bombarded with sounds we aren’t aware or in control of. The word “noise” actually comes from a Latin root for meaning queasiness or pain.

People who live in consistently noisy environments often experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.  Found during the time of rising urbanity in the mid 20th century, epidemiologists hypothesized correlations between high blood pressure and chronic noise areas like highways and airports.

Later research links persistent sound to chronic stress hormones, which lead to increased rates of sleep loss, heart disease, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It’s this line of research that hatched the 1960s-era notion of “noise pollution,” a name that refashions sounds of urban life as toxic, given their long-lasting negative effects. 

More recent human physiology research sheds some light on the power of silence. Carving out time for silence can have a tremendous effect on our ability to relax in a deep and rejuvenating way. In silence, our parasympathetic nervous system activates, allowing for rest & digest activities like digestion and cell differentiation to happen.

In 2006, during the physician Luciano Bernardi’s study on the physiological effects of music on the brain, the power of silence was revealed by accident. The research team surprisingly found measurable effects in blood pressure, carbon dioxide, and circulation in the brain during the time between tones.

Interestingly, the two-minute silent pauses in between proved far more relaxing than the “relaxing” music or a longer silence played before the experiment started. This rejuvenation effect that was catalyzed by silence seemed to be heightened by the contrast to the preceding tones before and after the pause.

Applying this to our “always on” American work culture, it’s easy to see the benefits that some contrasting rituals of silence could have on our ability to bring our A game to work at the times when it matters most.

The importance of silent restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pause, to pulse between spending and recovering energy.

Silence gives us time to integrate the information and experiences of the day. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran and colleagues found that when our brains rests quietly, we integrate external and internal information and experiences into “a conscious workspace.” Quiet time clears our headspace so that that we can be more fully present with the tasks at hand.

Even though it may seem like time resting your brain isn’t productive, in actuality, freedom from noise and goal-directed tasks give our brains time to actively reflect and organize information. With a commitment to a practice of silence, we can make more connections between disparate events and information, leading to more creativity and impactful contributions to our teams and our loved ones.

The Importance of Music

Just as silence has proven to be essential for to bolster productivity, so too music been found to boost productivity and connectivity in our relationships.

Listening to music at home has been found to provide a nexus for intimacy in relationships, a method for self-regulating mood, and inspiration for movement.

A recent study was conducted by smart speaker manufacturer Sonos in partnership with Apple Music and neuroscientist, Daniel Levitin—the guy who literally wrote the book on how music affects our brains. Sonos polled 30,000 music listeners to find what effects music has on their lives. In addition, the researchers conducted an immersive study in 30 homes. One week music was not played, and the next week families played music of their choice. This intensive part produced some astonishing results.

The average distance between household members decreased by 12% during the in-home study. In the U.S., housemates (usually family members), spent four and a half more hours together with music playing than without it. With music on, people were 33% more likely to cook together and 85% more likely to invite people over. They were 15% more likely to laugh together and 18% more likely to utter the words “I love you.”

At work, too, research has shown that music, especially when chosen by the individual, can have positive effects for efficiency, energy, focus, and mood.

Curating your soundscape is advantageous because, in biological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain. Dr Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, found that because music improves focus and therefore mood, productivity increases among workers who listen to music. “When you’re stressed, you might make a decision more hastily; you have a very narrow focus of attention,” she said. “When you’re in a positive mood, you’re able to take in more options.”

This Sonos study confirmed the notion by finding that, “When music was playing, respondents were 24% less irritable on average and felt 25% more inspired. In general, participants reported a 16% increase in positive feelings overall when listening to music.

More and more, families and teams of people at work are mindfully designing routines with silence and hand-picked music to regulate moods and energy levels.

How can we curate sounds in our work environment and throughout our work days to optimize energy levels, moods, and the quality of our relationships? 

Where can you use music as a transitional element between tasks and between roles to foster full presence when we arrive?

Moments of quietude and complete solidarity with a no-noise space-time are crucial for for integrating the brain’s experiences and rejuvenating our physiology. When we do this, we are better able to be effective at work and in touch with our thoughts and decisions.

In addition, music is a versatile and portable tool that can be a catalyzing force for increased focus, better moods, and deeper connectivity in both professional and personal relationships.

At Ziksana, to activate your culture to use play to fuel productivity, here are some suggestions to get you started.

Practical Tips for Professionals:

  • Schedule in dedicated moments of silence. Start with a timed 5-minute increment. Let plans and goals fall to the wayside for these 5 minutes while you sit in silence, bringing your attention back to your breath.    
    • Practice this 2 times a day, at the same time and place every day:
      • In the morning: First thing at your desk or in an office conference room
      • In the evening: In your car before turning it on to go home or in your driveway
  • Build playlists for your drive to and from work to see the effects on your focus and mood
    • We like Ratatat and Rodrigo y Gabriela – 11:11
  • Inspire relaxation and presence with mellow but upbeat instrumental music at home
    • We like Phil Cook & his Feat – Hungry Mother Blues and Random Rab
  • Inspire movement and groove in your body and your thought progression when you do chores
    • We like The Black Keys
  • Get ready to participate in a meeting or work event with a playlist of songs you love to sing to. This will warm up your vocal chords to get you ready to actively contribute your point of view.
    • We like George Ezra and Florence + the Machine

CONTACT US

Let's Play!

Questions about our services? Looking for a custom solution? We’d love to hear from you!

Ziksana logo

CALL US

619.354.8326

EMAIL US

info@ziksanaconsulting.com

ADDRESS

3692 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
Schedule your free 30 minute consultation. Get started.

get in touch

A group of two women and two men stacking hands with excitement. With text bubble in left corner saying let's play.

CONNECT WITH US

Copyright 2021 © All Rights Reserved | Powered By The Muses Digital | Privacy Policy

account android arrow-alt-circle-down arrow-alt-circle-left arrow-alt-circle-right arrow-alt-circle-up arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up author bars behance blogger buffer caret-down caret-left caret-right caret-square-down caret-square-left caret-square-right caret-square-up caret-up cart-menu-1 cart-menu-2 cart-menu-3 cart-menu-4 categories chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up clock close comments cookies copyright coupon-discount date-modified date-published discord double-arrows-down double-arrows-left double-arrows-right double-arrows-up dribbble envelope-open envelope eye facebook fax flickr foursquare github gmail google-drive grid-view hashtag hollow-ring homepage instagram ios level-down-alt level-up-alt line link linkedin list-view login logout long-arrow-alt-down long-arrow-alt-left long-arrow-alt-right long-arrow-alt-up medium messenger mobile-menu mobile phone pinterest place qq quote-left quote-right quotes reading-time-hourglass reading-time-stopwatch reddit rss scroll-to-top search shazam shopping-bag shopping-cart side-panel-opening-2-left side-panel-opening-2-right side-panel-opening-left side-panel-opening-right skype slack small-arrow-down small-arrow-left small-arrow-right small-arrow-up sms snapchat soundcloud spinner spotify stackoverflow sync telegram tiktok times-circle tinder trello tripadvisor tumblr twitch twitter viber vimeo vine vkontakte website wechat whatsapp windows wishlist xing yelp youtube zoom
Ziksana logo

CALL US

619.354.8326

EMAIL US

info@ziksanaconsulting.com

ADDRESS

3692 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

let's connect

Team member Jim

Jim Babcock

Adjunct Facilitator

Connect with Jim

Ziksana logo

Experience

Jim had a long and rich career with The Walt Disney Company that spanned 35 years. He joined The Walt Disney Company in 1986 as a Cast Member at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. He spent a majority of his career in development and communication roles across multiple Disney businesses, including Disney Store, Disney Consumer Products and Disney Institute. In these roles, Jim facilitated numerous skill-building and team-building programs. He has led classes ranging from coaching, customer-service, presentation techniques and behavioral styles that provide a blend of instruction, exercise, and role-play while linking the debrief back to company-specific objectives.

Jim has also been a host for an array of events. Since 1989, he has hosted hundreds of internal and external events for Disney and other companies/non-profits with audiences ranging from 15 to 2,000. The events have included award presentations, fund-raising galas, red-carpet interviews, and televised home shopping appearances.

What I Do At Ziksana

Jim is a Faciliatator with Ziksana Consulting, providing Leadership Development training to public and private sector clients in areas of communication, coaching, trust, motivation and innovation. His humorous and relatable teaching style makes him a participant favorite and often-requested facilitator.

How I Like To Play

Jim enjoys performing in improv shows and going on adventures with his niece. Since moving back to Michigan in 2021, he has started working part-time at a bakery and absolutely loves it.

A white man smiling in a green circle background

Kelby Kupersmid

ZIKSANA FACILITATOR

Connect with Kelby

Ziksana logo

Experience

Kelby is a Global Business Leadership and Coaching specialist who brings positivity, curiosity, and intellectual rigor to all of his projects. His diverse professional background, from working at a pre-revenue startup to a multi-billion-dollar financial institution, informs his unique approach to workplace innovation and efficacy.

Kelby is also a Co-Founder of Innovation Journey, a company that organizes business trips to Israel to explore its unique innovation ecosystem. He serves as Director of Leadership Programs, designing and facilitating unforgettable learning experiences to help professionals lead innovation in their careers and organizations.

What I Do At Ziksana

As Founder and CEO of Kinetic Development, Kelby partners with local and global organizations to increase their leadership effectiveness so they can enhance business results. He draws on his multidisciplinary experience to find a targeted approach that works for each client, combining assessments, individual and team coaching, and large group facilitation.

As an Executive Leadership Coach, Kelby helps ambitious professionals refine their mindset and skillset so they can unleash their full potential. He helps clients “get out of their own way” by illuminating blind spots and challenging limiting beliefs. Through crystal-clear development goals and strategies, they accelerate leadership skills to improve performance and business outcomes.

Background

Kelby is a first-generation U.S. American born to Jewish-Argentinian immigrants. He was born and raised in Southern California, has worked and studied in Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and traveled to over 20 countries across 5 continents. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Business from San Diego State University and a Master of Science in Global Business Leadership from the University of San Diego. He also holds a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential from the International Coaching Federation.

How I Like To Play

Kelby is a lifelong musician, having played guitar and rapped in award winning jazz, orchestra, and rock bands. He is currently on a 6-month road trip across the US in an RV.

Team member Chris W

Chris Watz

ZIKSANA FACILITATOR

Connect with Chris 

Ziksana logo

Experience

Chris has influenced senior leaders to achieve greater impact in rapid growth organizations for over 15 years. He has experience leading a variety of change initiatives including leadership development, culture change, and end-to-end business process improvement. For 10 years, Chris managed continuous improvement efforts at World Vision International. He led projects to enhance collaboration, develop leadership bench strength, and streamline resource and information flow across 90 countries. In partnership with McKinsey, Accenture and Booz Allen Hamilton, Chris’s leadership and evaluation expertise helped two industry pioneering projects make critical adjustments to achieve greater return on investment. As a result, World Vision began operating more effectively at a global scale, during a time of rapid organizational growth.

Chris received his M.A. from Claremont Graduate University in Organizational Behavior Psychology and Program Evaluation. He also holds certificates in Project Management, Lean /Six Sigma (Green Belt), and Structured Behavioral Interviewing. Chris also founded Watz Productivity, a Consulting Company that uses data-driven solutions and coaching to support Executive Teams undergoing rapid growth.

What I Do At Ziksana

Chris is a Facilitator, Consultant, and Executive Coach with Ziksana Consulting.

How I Like To Play

Chris has worked and travelled in 44 countries, and loves rock climbing and photography while visiting new places. He is passionate about helping people find fulfilling careers that help them do the things they love most in and out of work.

Team member Kane

Kane Luong

GRAPHIC DESIGNER & WEBSITE DEVELOPER

Connect with Kane

Ziksana logo

Experience

Born and raised in San Diego, California, Kane received his B.A in Graphic Design from San Diego State University. He began his career with San Diego State University and then started his own design studio. He has worked with many local clients which include, Goal Success, Pho Ca Dao, Zeroline Golf, Solarflexion and Therapies For Success. He has a passion for solving complex business problems through design thinking, and consistently strives for the betterment of his work.

What I Do At Ziksana

Kane is Ziksana’s graphic designer and web developer. He designs participant workbooks, presentations, and supports website development.

How I Like To Play

One of Kane’s favorite activities is playing badminton. He also enjoys trying out new food, exploring places around San Diego and finding new trails to hike. Kane loves to travel internationally, and wants to explore more of Canada!

Team member Courtney

Courtney Hale

EXPERIENCE DESIGNER & PLAY PRODUCER

Connect with Courtney

Ziksana logo

Experience

Courtney is a graduate of The Edward R. Murrow School of Communication and began her career in Broadcast News as a producer at Washington State University. From there, she moved to Los Angeles, California where for over 10 years, she produced, wrote, and developed television programs for The Weather Channel, SyFy Network, Fox Sports, Sony Pictures Television, ABC Disney, NBC and CBS. In addition, she oversaw all aspects of production and prepared daily production plans for operations and filming. She relied heavily on her communications and client relations background as a liaison between cast, crew, agents, managers, publicists, the studio and the network.

Courtney also worked for The Found Animals Foundation; a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the use of euthanasia in the United States. She was brought on as the program manager responsible for developing, managing and launching their National Microchip Program and free Microchip Registry, partnering with shelters, clinics, rescue groups and veterinarians. Her other responsibilities included developing and producing the foundation’s corporate videos that were shown at trade shows and conferences. In addition to that, she spearheaded the Found Animals Foundation Awards where she was responsible for all event logistics, promotions, and marketing.

What I Do At Ziksana

Courtney is the “producer of play” and likes to wear many hats. Some of her daily activities include designing innovative and impactful experiences for clients, helping lead internal culture initiatives, and producing company events & videos.

How I Like To Play

Courtney feels lucky to be a part of the San Diego Improv community where she gets to perform regularly. Courtney also enjoys exploring lesser-known festivals (avocado/margarita festival, anyone?), discovering new vacation spots with her family, trying out new dinner recipes, and writing Hallmark Holiday movie scripts just for the fun of it.

Team member Chris P

Chris Pizarro

PLAYFUL PROJECT MANAGER

Connect with Chris

Ziksana logo

Experience

With three years of experience in the field of event and project management, Chris excels in filling a critical gap in the field of Leadership Development. He was hired by the Center for Creative Leadership in 2012 as a Program Coordinator, delivering programs throughout the United States and in Latin America for non-profit and Fortune 500 clients. In this role, Chris was responsible for all program logistics, serving as the primary point of contact for the delivery team and participants. He was later promoted to a Sr. Program Coordinator role, overseeing the San Diego campus’ Open Enrollment product line. Chris also spent 3 years as an Assistant Store Director for Sprouts Farmers Market, managing around 100 employees from entry level to first time managers.

What I Do At Ziksana

Since joining the team in 2018, Chris has been providing operational, communications, and business process support to Ziksana Consulting. He is the master of Project Management and enables Ziksana to deliver exceptional services to multiple clients.

How I Like To Play

Chris enjoys living locally in his hometown of San Diego, CA. He takes pride in his city and enjoys attending and supporting local sporting events. On his time off, Chris enjoys spending quality time with his wife, daughter, and two lovable dogs. His passion for barbecuing is unparalleled.

Team member Laura

Laura Fleig

ZIKSANA FACILIATOR

Connect with Laura

Ziksana logo

Experience

Laura is a New-York native with a degree in Criminal Justice & Psychology from the University of Albany. She moved to San Diego in 2014 and began working as a residential counselor for youth in the foster-care system. During this time, Laura became deeply interested in how to create a therapeutic group environment where people could heal and grow.

In 2018, Laura began working in the field of Learning and Development as a group facilitator at The University of California, San Diego. Using a high-ropes course as an experiential learning tool, Laura has facilitated over 50 leadership and team development programs for children, young adults, and professionals. Additionally, Laura has been guiding and facilitating transformational outdoor adventures since 2018. Using lessons from the outdoors, she facilitates impactful experiences that help people grow both personally and professionally.

What I Do At Ziksana

Laura is a Designer, Facilitator, and Coach at Ziksana. She also runs Ziksana’s social media accounts.

How I Like To Play

Laura enjoys taking on challenging sports and activities that push her physical and mental limits. She can be found skateboarding down Mission Boardwalk, catching waves at Ocean Beach, and sport-climbing throughout the Western United States.

Ziksana Founder Akshay Sateesh

Akshay Sateesh

FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

Connect with Akshay

Ziksana logo

Experience

Akshay started his career as a Business Development & Project Leader at DuPont’s BioMedical, where he led product development teams to launch medical device implants for surgeries. During his career at DuPont, he led two product development teams and developed collaborative partnerships to take the medical devices to market. His passion for leading others jump started his innovative approach to leadership development.

In 2008, Akshay combined his love for improvisational theatre and leadership by founding Ziksana Consulting. He began delivering playful workshops to biomedical companies, and quickly expanded to other industries based on Ziksana’s initial succees. Akshay has a M.A. in Leadership Studies and Group Dynamics, and is a Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach. He has facilitated programs in leadership development, innovation, and team dynamics for adults and children in the U.S., Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, India, and South Africa.

Akshay served as an Adjunct Faculty member for the Center for Creative Leadership in San Diego for over 5 years, as well as a Consultant for the Centre for Organization Effectiveness.

What I Do At Ziksana

Akshay is the founder of Ziksana Consulting, and serves as a Workshop Facilitor, Executive Coach, Experience Designer, and Keynote Speaker.

How I Like To Play

Akshay enjoys spending time with his young family and is known for his play versatility (he can play almost any sport and give you a run for your money). Apart from dancing in the car, playing a clown at his kids’ schools, and playing with strangers on his Nintendo Switch, Akshay loves photography, surfing, playing tennis, and diving with his wife, Brooke. He would like to spend more time developing his ukelele and magic skills.

A white man smiling in a green circle background

Akshay Sateesh

FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

Connect with Akshay

Ziksana logo

Experience

Akshay started his career as a Business Development & Project Leader at DuPont’s BioMedical, where he led product development teams to launch medical device implants for surgeries. During his career at DuPont, he led two product development teams and developed collaborative partnerships to take the medical devices to market. His passion for leading others jump started his innovative approach to leadership development.

In 2008, Akshay combined his love for improvisational theatre and leadership by founding Ziksana Consulting. He began delivering playful workshops to biomedical companies, and quickly expanded to other industries based on Ziksana’s initial succees. Akshay has a M.A. in Leadership Studies and Group Dynamics, and is a Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach. He has facilitated programs in leadership development, innovation, and team dynamics for adults and children in the U.S., Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, India, and South Africa.

Akshay served as an Adjunct Faculty member for the Center for Creative Leadership in San Diego for over 5 years, as well as a Consultant for the Centre for Organization Effectiveness.

What I Do At Ziksana

Akshay is the founder of Ziksana Consulting, and serves as a Workshop Facilitor, Executive Coach, Experience Designer, and Keynote Speaker.

How I Like To Play

Akshay enjoys spending time with his young family and is known for his play versatility (he can play almost any sport and give you a run for your money). Apart from dancing in the car, playing a clown at his kids’ schools, and playing with strangers on his Nintendo Switch, Akshay loves photography, surfing, playing tennis, and diving with his wife, Brooke. He would like to spend more time developing his ukelele and magic skills.