While we might think we know what silence is, in a world of stress, technology and digital chatter, finding it can be a challenge.
Silence helps create harmony within. Removing noise gives you time to think and contemplate, which can lead to a deeper, more balanced sense of wellbeing.
Silence could have a big effect on your health. A 2013 study of the effect of noise on mice found that just two hours of silence a day led to the development of new brain cells in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning, memory and emotion. The findings suggest that silence could be therapeutic for conditions like depression.
Silence has long been a feature of world religions and many religious orders still practise it as a way to achieve a higher spiritual understanding.
Loud noises raise stress levels by activating the brain’s amygdala and causing the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Just as too much noise can cause stress and tension, research has found that silence has the opposite effect, releasing tension in the brain and body. A 2006 study published in the journal Heart found two minutes of silence to be more relaxing than listening to relaxing music, based on changes in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.
During times of quiet stillness, the kind you find when walking alone in nature, for example, the brain can let down its sensory guard and is given an opportunity to restore its mental resources.
Words: Edward Field
Illustration: Dadu Shin
Article extract from issue 3 of Teen Breathe – order your copy here or the digital edition here