We live in a noisy world where we are flooded with sounds. Television. YouTube. Podcasts. Ringing phones. The ping of incoming emails and texts. Conversations with coworkers, family, and friends. Lawnmowers. Garbage trucks. Airplanes. However, we rarely experience silence.
too much noise
Noise is any unwanted or disagreeable sound. Research found that a steady dose of noise could lead to higher blood pressure, increased heart disease, higher cholesterol, less sleep, more stress and impaired learning. In addition, constantly being assaulted by sound keeps our focus on the external world and makes it harder for us to turn our attention inward.
Health benefits of silence
In contrast to noise, quiet is little or no noise, and silence is the absence of noise. Taking time to be silent offers benefits for body and mind.
· Stimulates brain growth – A study found that at least two hours of silence could result in the creation of new brain cells in the area of our brains linked to learning and recall.
· Relieves stress – Research revealed that silence can relieve tension in just two minutes.
· Lowers blood pressure – Silence is more calming for your body and brain than listening to music – as measured by a lowering of blood pressure and increased blood flow to the brain.
· Enhances Sleep – Periods of silence throughout the day enhance sleep and lessen insomnia.
· Improves awareness – With silence, there is increased awareness and time for personal reflection. It gives space to listen to your inner voice and make measured decisions.
· Increases focus – You will find yourself better able to focus. This seems pretty obvious, but many of us try to do things that require concentration surrounded by noise or other people. A lot of teens insist on listening to music while studying. Numerous studies show that this does not help.
· Restores mental resources: Silence helps us to not be overwhelmed. We can then tap into our creativity, daydream, fantasize and meditate.
more time for silence
While too much of anything (including silence) is unhealthy, most of us would benefit from having more silence in our lives. If you are finding it hard to engage in silence, start with one minute and increase as it feels right to you. If you run into barriers, forgive yourself and keep trying. Figure out what works for you. Here are a few ideas:
· Wake up early – If you are up before everyone else, you can control how noisy it is.
· Schedule time to practice quiet or silence – Allow silence in the car while you drive or while lounging in a bath after a long day
· Set boundaries – Turn off electronics and notifications. Let others know you are in silence. Invest in noise-canceling headphones
· Get outside – Watch birds and butterflies, go for a walk or garden.
· Meditate – Practice mindfulness or yoga, engage in deep breathing or listen to quiet nature sounds.
As the adage goes, “Silence is golden” and good for our health. Try to get some every day.