Think back over your day so far. How much of it was spent in silence? As in no pumping background music, no chit chat, no incessant mental chatter in your head or a blazing podcast on your headphones. When were you last just in the moment, with the wind on your face appreciating what is with no judgement and feeling truly grateful for the magic of life.
Chances are it’s been a while. It’s a common predicament these days. Often seconds after our alarm goes off, bang we are deep into social media feeds. Listening to music on our commute to work, watching videos at lunch, listening to podcasts on the way home, watching TV during dinner.
Sound familiar? The average person is often deprived of mental and physical silence. We are over-stimulated by a constant bombardment on all our sensory organs. It is the era of sensory overload!
Research shows that constant sound overload, internal and external is adversely affecting our physical and mental health. Raising our blood pressure, contributing to everyday tension, affecting our hearing and reducing our quality of life.
Studies reveal that a little quiet time can boost brain function, slash stress and give you a lift. Something like a computer when you shut down those fifteen applications you had open and just use the two you need.
Research has found just two minutes of silence can actually decrease your blood pressure and alter blood circulation through your brain. Plus, it turns down your anxiety, helps you deal with tough situations and improves sleep patterns.
Who would have thought doing nothing could be so good for you?…lol!
We’ve all experienced that blissful feeling after taking time out on the weekend to just be or chill-aking on holidays. Time to integrate it into the everyday, not just leave it for special occasions.
The common theme really is presence. Actively being in the moment and being with what is, with no judgment, only appreciation.
Some quiet time inspiration, for internal and external chatter–
- Sliding into warm bath and just be.
- Reading silently on couch.
- Belly breathing
- Mindful walking, by slowing down your walking pace and feeling the sensation of every step.
- Mindful eating, by smell the aromas, observe the colours, feel the textures on your tongue, listen to the crunch as you chew and taste the flavours inside your mouth.
- Meditation, even 10 minutes, can switch off your flight or fight response and activate your relaxation or parasympathetic nervous system. Remember the aim of meditation is not to stop you thinking but to allow your thoughts to flow through without reacting to them and debug the system. So, you’re essentially giving preference to the meditation, without judging the process.
Research found meditation improved your rational decision making skills, enhanced your ability to process information, improved learning, creativity and memory. A UCLA study found by dimming physical and mental noise via meditation can make your brain grow. Interesting stuff.
Needing more convincing to reduce the noise fest?
Did you know research shows that that 47 percent of the time, people are thinking about something other than what they are doing.
UK research found that studies who studied in silence had better attention compared to their peers who had music playing.
And how’s this.. enjoying regular periods of silence can improve your attention, help make decisions, and boost your smarts. There is growing evidence that a quiet mind can improve your memory, concentration and increase grey matter in your brain.
If you are not sure you’re ready to make friends with silence, start slow. There are apps that can guide you through meditation and mindfulness exercises, such as Headspace and Calm. Once you’ve learnt how to quiet your mind by focusing on the here and now, you can turn off the app and enjoy the benefits of silence.
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