The way people react to silence varies. Some people feel nervous if there is little or no noise in their immediate environment. They may be in the habit of having a radio, television or some other form of noise in the background all day long. However, others are aware time spent in silence helps them recharge. They seek out quiet places and schedule some times of silence into each day. Whether you crave some time in silence or not, you actually need it.
Negative effects of constant noise In 2011 a report written by the World Health Organisation called noise pollution 'a modern plague'.
Constant noise can contribute to
high blood pressure
loss of sleep
How constant noise causes problems The effect of constant noise will depend on the type of noise, how loud it is and how long a person is exposed to it. Reasons noise can be a problem include -
Certain sounds are interpretted by the brain as being a threat. The amygdala will respond by sending a message to the hypothalamus warning of danger. The adrenal glands are stimulated to increase adrenaline in the bloodstream readying a person for flight or fight. An increase in cortisol also occurs which quickens heart rate and blood pressure. When there is frequently noise that triggers a threat response the body gets stressed.
Noise can be a distraction which means a person will have poor concentration while exposed to the noise.
If there is a lot of noise at night it is not surprising a person may find it hard to fall asleep. The build up of stress from exposure to daytime noise may make it difficult for a person to relax and fall asleep. Poor quality or insufficient sleep can contribute to numerous health problems.
In some areas traffic noise is a problem inside homes. Young children may not learn to speak as well as those living in quieter areas because the noise interferes with them hearing words accurately.
Traffic causes lots of noise Image by F.Muhammad from Pixabay
Benefits of spending some time in silence Time spent in silence is time well spent because it-
Provides time to work out priorities
Helps the memory
Makes a person calmer
Encourages the growth of new brain cells
Getting more silent times in one's life More people are now realising the benefits of ensuring they have some quiet times in their life. It is even possible to attend a 10 day silent retreat for those desiring an extended period of silence.
An easier to achieve goal is to set aside 10 minutes or longer to spend in a quiet space at least once a day. The time can be spent just sitting and thinking or being mindful of one's surroundings. Meditation, prayer or filling out a gratitude diary are other things one can do in silence.
There may be no way of getting quiet time during your work day. It may be difficult to get some silent time if you share your home with others. However, getting up before everyone else may enable you to enjoy some quiet time. (This is easier to do if you are a morning person.) Another possibility is to go for a walk alone in a quiet place. Walking in a park, by a river or at the beach is particularly beneficial because of the contact with Nature. further reading Why Nature Makes Us Happy. Perhaps you can find a quiet spot in your garden.
For some people, it is not easy to find a quiet place. In this busy world it can be easy to overlook the importance of spending some time in silence but it's a habit worth getting into.