Since most of us are constantly exposed to too much ambient noise during the day, seeking silence is not a superfluous luxury. Yet silence is not appreciated by many of us. We associate silence with doing nothing, and we think doing nothing is a waste of our time. In this blog we share with you four benefits of silence and we give you tips to bring silence back into your daily routine.
Noise pollution and health risks
In 2011, the World Health Organization called noise pollution a “modern plague”. That means there is a lot of evidence that exposure to noise has a negative effect on our health. Excessive noise can lead to physical and mental problems. It is well known that noise is harmful to our hearing. However, too much noise can also cause high blood pressure, concentration problems, irregular sleep patterns and an increased risk of heart attacks. There are also connections between excessive noise and disturbed metabolism.
The healing effects of silence
Where as research has shown that noise pollution can be harmful to our health, it has also been proven that silence can provide us with significant health benefits. Silence soothes our brain and body and therefore reduces stress and tension. Research published in 2006 in the Heart Journal suggests that 2 minutes of silence reduces more stress than 2 minutes of listening to relaxing music.
The Brain, Structure and Function Journal published a study in 2013 on the effect that sound and silence have on the mice’s brains. The research showed that two hours of silence could create new cells in the hippocampal region, a brain region that is linked to learning, remembering and emotions.
Silence is good for our creativity
If we are not consciously thinking, our brain switches to the default network which is responsible for our creativity. Solutions for current or long-term problems are generated in the default network. It is in silence and tranquility that the default network in our brain can run at full speed and that creative and innovative ideas can come up unexpectedly, without much effort.
Silence makes us reflect
Conscious silence allows us to reflect on what is really important to us and give priority to our inner needs. After reflecting in silence, we may be more motivated to restore important relationships, address our weak characteristics, make a career switch or pursue a healthier lifestyle.
Silence increases our productivity
When we are working, the lowest noise can distract us, which results in an interruption of our work. We are interrupted dozens of times in a day at work. Research shows that it takes an average of 20 minutes to get back to the same concentration level as before the interruption. This can lead to serious productivity losses and a high error rate. More silence in our workplace is the solution for this problem. An employer could increase the productivity of its employees by as much as 50% by introducing “silence zones” where employees can fully concentrate on their work without noise distraction.
Tips for more silence
We can now conclude that we really need to structurally plan more “silence moments” in our lives. We want to share with you 5 simple tips to bring back the silence in your life:
1. Every morning before you get up, take 5 minutes to clear your mind and listen to your breath.
2. Set up a room at home for silent meditation or prayer.
3. Enjoy a quiet evening. Put your devices away and turn off the television.
4. Switch off the radio while driving. Keep your full attention when driving and focus on what happens on the road. You may be surprised by all the new things you’ll start to notice.
5. Pause in advance of a following meeting or activity to ground yourself and organize your thoughts.
We hope that this blog post has made you more aware of the importance of silence and that you will also appreciate it more. Do you have any other tips or ideas to bring back the silence in our lives? Share them with us!
With love and care,