There’s something about this year. Most people I talk to tell me that thus far, 2017 has been a rollercoaster ride they can’t seem to be able to get off. It’s been moving faster than previous years and with many more eyebrow-raising moments.
If you’re one of those people who find that your days are flying by way too quickly and loudly, invite silence into your life.
Silence. A concept we, an over-stimulated society, feel uncomfortable with. A pause in a conversation makes us look for words (any word) to fill the space. Complete silence in a room alone can make us feel lonely. But, there’s something magical about silence:
When you stop talking, you start hearing. You may even hear a leaf fall.When you stop talking, you start hearing. Click To Tweet
Stop talking, start hearing
When you go inward, you’ll experience thoughts and sensations you will often miss in our always-on world. And it can be scary. That’s why many people have a difficult time with the idea of silence. The irony is that the more you learn to embrace silence, the more these fears will dissipate.
Why we need silence
1. Silence teaches us to better listen to our body and mind
When you’re still and focus your full attention on yourself, you may notice twitches here and there, ringing in your ears (a condition often associated with nervous system overload), heat in certain parts of your body and other symptoms you normally wouldn’t notice or make anything of. When you take the time to get to know the subtle signs of imbalance in your body and mind, you can be more prepared to reverse the progression of health imbalances to diseases, or in some cases, even prevent them altogether. But you have to learn how to pay attention.
2. Silence helps combat stress and tension
There’s research out there now that shows the effects of too much and/or loud noise on our cortisol level. As the amygdala in the brain gets activated, it triggers the stress response in the body. Amygdala is “a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions.” (Wikipedia).
When we’re experiencing stress, our body produces cortisol and adrenaline, two stress-fighting hormones, both of which are very acidic and create waste products, knows as free radicals. Free radicals are “the leading cause of aging, disease, cancer and death” because in this highly acidic environment, the lymphatic system is unable to drain and nourish your body and tissues properly (Dr. Douillard. 2015).
3. Silence helps re-energize our sense organs
I’ve written about sense organ abuse and how the misuse of our sense organs may lead to disease over time. Read about sense organ misuse and abuse here.
4. Silence helps our brain function better
Our constant problem-solving and decision-making mode puts much demand on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for high-order thinking. When we overuse this part of our brain, we become mentally fatigued and lose focus. Check out this blog on decision fatigue.
5. Silence helps regenerate brain cells
A 2013 study investigated the effects of different types of noises on mice. These sound sources included white noise, pup calls, silence and even piano music by Mozart. All noise sources were standardized on the same frequency range. Mice were organized into groups based on noise source, and were exposed to the noise type of their group for 2 hours per day. The study has found that “in absolute terms, only silence resulted in statistically increased levels of neurogenesis” at the 7-day mark. In other words, silence helps with cell proliferation, also know as cell growth.
4 Places to find silence easily
I get it, you have kids at home and don’t have 2 hours for yourself when you step through the door. You have back-to-back work deadlines looming over your head with no break in sight. What can you do? Focus on the places of “can”, rather than “can’t”. These 4 places can give you a sense of relief from auditory overstimulation every day–even if only for a few minutes:
Using silence as medicine? Sounds good to me. Are you in?
Image: Dan Colcer, freeimages.com