Do you ever take time to surround yourself in silence? No talking, no TV, no music, no social media…just quiet. It’s a luxury we don’t often treat ourselves to. The thing is, setting aside time for ourselves to rest and recharge in silence, without any outside stimulus, can be crucial to maintain good health.
Science says so…
A dear friend sent me an informative article by Azriel ReShel who wrote an enlightening piece for UpLift Connect, an Ezine, titled “Science Says Silence is Vital for Our Brains”. Azriel tells us that “science has proof that noise hurts and silence heals.” The World Health Organization (WHO) backs this claim with a Western European study in 2011 showing the root cause of 3,000 heart disease deaths were due to excessive noise. Other studies cited in this article support powerful evidence of the damage too much noise causes, as well as, the benefits of silence to our brain. The good news is that the toll noise takes on our brains and bodies can be undone by adding moments of silence to our day.
The ‘M’ Word
Meditation is one effective way to add silence to your day. Not too long ago I was thinking about how much meditation has added to my life not realizing the benefit sitting in silence also had for the health of my brain. I was more focused on the calm feeling meditation brings me long after I leave the cushion. Turns out, those moments of silence really are golden. I now understand how important meditating is to nourish and heal my brain, stimulate creativity and many other benefits. Although finding a quiet spot to meditate is ideal, you will learn to block out noises that could be distracting during your practice. Meditation is arguably one of the best and easiest ways to bring silence into your life.
A few weeks ago I spent a couple nights at my son and daughter-in-law’s home, on 5 acres in the country. I was taking care of my 2 grand-pups while they were out of town. As the saying goes, the silence was deafening! My normal life is mostly spent living in the City and all the noise that goes with it. My brain didn’t quite know what to do with such stillness – no cars honking, streetcars clamoring or people hustling about. I’m not complaining, I love living in the City, but it was such a contrast to what I’m used to, I think it was a shock to my system.
Spending a tranquil weekend in the country gave my brain a break from the noise I was so accustomed to. It was interesting because I could almost feel my brain trying to calibrate itself to this mostly quite environment. After the first night, my brain and I relaxed as we left the street noise behind and slipped into the warm surrender of accepting the silence. As I settled in I noticed I moved at a slower pace and enjoyed benefits such as reading without distraction…except when one of the dogs wanted a good belly rub! When I went home to my noisy life it was like I had been on a mental vacation. My brain thanked me!
Silence is at the top of the list for brain rest. For our emotional and spiritual health there are lots of options. The Chopra Center posted these “Nine Types of Rest” on Instagram recently, reminding us that “taking the time to rest is vital to our overall well-being.” And, “We owe it to ourselves to take care of our mind, body & spirit with periods of rest that go deeper than the surface”. When I was a working mom I remember what a lovely feeling it was to sit in my car during lunch in complete silence, using “solitude to recharge”, before going back to the office. With the demands most of us have in our lives, pulling us in a million directions, shouldn’t you give yourself the gift of rest? You deserve it.
Nine Types of Rest
1. Time away
2. Permission to not be helpful
3. Something “unproductive”
4. Connection to art and nature
5. Solitude to recharge
6. A break from responsibility
7. Stillness to decompress
8. Safe space
9. Alone time at home
The bottom line is to find something that works for you. Taking care of yourself cognitively, emotionally and spiritually may be just as important as getting physical exercise and eating a healthy diet to live a long and happy life. Shhhhhhhhhhh……..
One more thing…
The term “blue space” has popped up in recent years as mental health professionals and others recognize the calming and therapeutic effects water has on our psyche. Walking along any natural body of water like a river, lake, stream or ocean can bring feelings of happiness and well-being. You may have experienced this, as I have, whenever you’re at a beach, river or lake. My husband and I laugh at each other because we find ourselves constantly taking deep breaths followed by long exhales of ahhhhh when we’re at the ocean! This March 2019 article from Psychology Today written by Linda Wasmer Andrews explains the science and studies around the benefits of blue space: “Can Blue Space Provide Therapeutic Benefits?”
Till next time…
Peace & Love ♥