Finding peace and quiet
Finding peace and quiet in modern times can be a challenge. However, consciously practicing silence and quiet provides significant physical and psychological health benefits.
Firstly, some Interesting facts on hearing and noise
- The human ear is a sensitive organ and even when we are asleep, it is still picking up and transmitting sound to the brain.
- After receiving electrical signals (sound) the brain subsequently activates a stress response in the amydgala, immediately releasing cortisol, which elevates our blood pressure and heart rate.
- Studies have shown that exposure to nocturnal sounds can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Long-term exposure to noise can lead to a variety of health issues including high blood pressure, sleep problems, cognitive impairment in children, anxiety, depression and fatigue.
In the below TEDX talk, Nick Seaver offers some personal insights into silence. He explores why many of us are uncomfortable to sit quietly with our own thoughts. Very timely indeed considering the current escalation in poor mental health, caused by extended lock-downs.
5 Ways to Find Quiet in our busy lives
1. Plan for quiet time. Schedule an hour or two+ to yourself each week
2. Make it a non-negotiable – like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. You can easily enjoy the health benefits (inner-peace and well-being) by enjoying quiet time for 10 minutes a day.
3. Teach everyone you live with about quiet time and the benefits of taking time out to be silent.
4. Use golden time spaces. Avoid having the radio on in the car when driving alone. Resist texting or talking when you’re waiting for an appointment. Do chores at home in silence. Try working without music or television and close the window to block out external noise.
5. Create daily rituals (2-3) that promote quiet. Say a meditation, prayer or mantra or try going for a run without headphones and having a bath with candles.
The power of quiet: 8 benefits of being silent
- Stimulate brain growth – Two hours of alone-time and silence every day can potentially rejuvenate your brain.
- Improved sleep and reduced insomnia – as proven in a 2015 study of older adults who practised six weeks of mindfulness meditation.
- Improved memory – 10 to 15 minutes of sitting in silence can boost your memory. A 2014 study on patients with amnesia showed that a ten-minute rest in a quiet, darkened, room boosted recall from 14 to 49 per cent.
- Stress reliever – stress can disrupt our biology. So, taking a break and embracing the healing qualities of silence can lower blood cortisol and adrenaline levels and relieve stress.
- Increases awareness – learning to quieten your mind will result in a noticeable shift in your awareness and sensitivity to your immediate environment.
- Improved heart health – The American Heart Association says that practicing being quiet can do wonders for heart health as it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, which lowers the overall risk for heart disease.
- Improved clarity – breathing, calming your mind and getting away from noise drastically reduces stress.
- Enhances creativity – periods of skilful silence allows your mind to wander, which is an essential ‘incubator’ for innovative thinking. Try day-dreaming, a nature walk or a good sleep, which are all wonderful sources for incubating creativity and innovation.
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