Quiet Please.Why silence is good for you. As I write this post I am sat in silence .The only sounds are the tapping of my fingers on the key board. In a household of five quiet time can prove somewhat elusive. Consider the fact it’s the school holidays, this bubble of solitude I am currently experiencing is even rarer. Nevertheless here I am, no music or tv, no x-box shoot em up games in the background. Even the washing machine is quiet which in itself is nothing short of a miracle.
Although I do enjoy the hustle and bustle of family life I am a big fan of silence. The less distractions the happier I am. I enjoy working and completing tasks in silence where as the rest of my family are the complete polar opposite. Homework or chores are accompanied by podcasts and DIY projects by loud music. Where as I can often be found muttering that phrase ‘I can’t hear myself think’.
My husband has now resorted to headphones when we work on projects together because of my constant dialling down of the volume when he exits the room. On car journeys my silence filler of a husband can last approximately 5 mins before reaching for the radio’s on button. While I silently contemplate announcing a competition to offer up a reward for who can stay the quietest the longest.
In today’s world life can be seem like a constant source of noise. We live in an age of technology that has the ability to bombard our senses 24/7. My own daughter is so attached to her headphones that I sometimes wonder if she will wake one morning to find this piece of technology integrated like some kind of cyborg.
There is certainly not much silence going on in her world and I wonder if that’s the same for many people in this modern world. With all the noise that you are exposed to on a daily basis how often you allow yourself to be in complete silence? How many minutes do you think that would add up to?
So what’s so great about silence anyway. Well, surprisingly silence can benefit you in several ways.
Good for your brain
Studies have shown that silence can lower the burden placed on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of the brain – the region that’s involved in decision making, problem-solving and abstract thinking. The PFC enables us to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. It would seem that there may be something in my ‘I can’t hear myself think’ outbursts after all. By giving our brains time off from auditory stimuli we may very well be able to focus better, make fewer mistakes and boost our creativity.
A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function found 2 hours of silence per day saw the development of new cells in the hippocampus region of the brain associated with memory, learning and emotions. Does this mean silence may actually help our brain to regenerate too?
Relieves stress and tension
Noise, hustle and bustle can place the body and mind under extra stress and tension. Studies show that people living in busy city environments have greater stress levels than people who don’t. Taking time out to experience silence can have a calming effect on the body. Silence allows the body to rest, heart and breathing rates can slow bringing the body’s natural rhythms back into balance resulting in a release of tension. By allowing yourself to sit in silence you can focus your mind on your breathing which can help to lower your blood pressure and overall stress levels.
Sitting in silence can help you to reconnect with yourself and enhance your own self-awareness. It can help you to connect with ideas and creativity that may otherwise sit on the back burner of your mind. It’s also a great tool for you examining what is taking up your headspace. It enables you to work through situations or issues that have been playing on your mind. Silent contemplation may also help you to identify what you need to let go of.
The removal of external distractions can give you the space to sit with your own thoughts, feelings and emotions. This allows you to do some real soul searching and clarify situations in the present moment. By silencing your outside world you are far more able to focus on your inner world, listening to your inner voice rather than what is going on externally. It can help you to reconnect and trust your own instincts, helping you to access that inherent ability to know what is right for you.Therefore providing direction, drive and focus.
Simple ways to achieve silence:
- A walk by yourself in nature.
- Clearing a 10-minute window in your day for sitting in silence.#
- Drive to a nearby beauty spot and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
- Book a random afternoon off work and spend time in a quiet house.
- Go to the quiet room in your local library and ponder your world.
And for the super serious, book yourself on a silent retreat weekend
Where ever you are, whatever you are doing in life the health benefits of some quiet time may well be worth considering because from a well-being perspective it would seem that silence really is golden.
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