Turn off your noisy distractions and try this experiment.
Take a deep breath—all the way in, all the way out.
Adjust your posture into a relaxed and upright position.
Breathe another full breath. And another.
If your eyelids are ready to close, let them fall shut.
Inhale and exhale slowly, evenly, and smoothly.
It’ll never be completely silent. What do you hear?
How many different sounds can you notice?
How does each sound affect you?
Try to notice the sounds without judging or reacting to them.
Just listen, and be present with whatever you do or don’t hear.
Check-in with yourself. How do you feel at this moment?
Do you feel differently than you felt a minute ago, before this brief experiment with silence?
Noise Is Stressful
You’ve probably noticed that you feel more stressed when you’re around a lot of noise.
Noise pollution can increase your cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate.
It can also lead to anxiety, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
All of these effects take a toll on your mental and physical health. And a noisy environment at night can disrupt your sleep, which further amplifies the harmful effects of noise on your health.
The Benefits Of Silence
While noise pollution is stressful, silence can have a positive, health-promoting effect.
When you give yourself a break from the noise, you can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk for heart disease.
You can also increase creativity, improve your focus and productivity, and boost your mood.
It may even stimulate the growth of new brain cells by activating the process of neurogenesis. In one experiment, mice were exposed to various noise conditions (white noise, pup calls, Mozart music, and silence). At first, all the conditions except white noise-induced the neurogenetic effect. But after a week, only silence continued to be effective while the other conditions lost their stimulating effect.
Make Space For Silence
It can be hard to find time for silence in our fast-paced world. But even a few minutes of silence can have a great effect on your mental and physical health.
So make a point to include silence in your day, if only for a moment. Turn off the TV, step away from your computer, put down your phone, and be present in the silence.
Make it a habitual daily routine, and you’ll reap the benefits of a calmer, healthier mind and body. You might even consider designating a place in your home as a “silent space” where you can go to relax and recharge without distraction.
In the restful space between the countless noises of the world, you’ll find a renewed sense of calm and well-being.