Updated: Sep 10, 2019
In this series, I have already spoken of what silence is and how it can bring us closer to our own being. And now I want to help you understand how silence can help us in healing our mind and body to achieve a state of perfect harmony and solace in otherwise chaotic and erratic world.
We tend to think of silence as an absence, a lack of noise, rather than a positive condition, but according to science, silence isn’t just not bad for your brain, but actively good. Various medical researches and studies have been conducted all over the globe which significantly prove that silence when practiced with right mindset in right environment with right intentions can prove to be more beneficial and fruitful to the balanced growth of the individual as well as the society.
“Silence is a source of great strength.” – Lao Tzu
In this context, Florence Nightingale, the 19th century British Nurse and Social Activist, once wrote that “unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on sick or well.” Nightingale argued that needless sounds could cause distress, sleep loss and alarm for recovering patients.
Relieves stress: An unpublished 2004 paper by environmental psychologist Dr. Craig Zimring suggests that higher noise levels in neonatal intensive care units led to elevated blood pressure, increased heart rates and disrupted patient sleep patterns. This happens when sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear, which then causes the body to react to these signals.
A 2006 study in Journal Heart found that 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. Researchers found it was more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. This was based on changes in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain. It lowers blood pressure, which can help prevent heart attack.
A 2011 World Health Organization Report called noise pollution a “modern plague” concluding that “there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.” According to the Research, loud noises raise stress levels by activating the brain’s amygdala and causes the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Lending credence to these observations, Science now recognizes the harmful effects of noise pollution on human health and cognition.
Silence improves memory: A 2011 study published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found adults who walked for 40 minutes three times a week for a year had brain growth in the hippocampus — an area of the brain associated with spatial memory. Immersing ourselves in nature helps the brain to focus and have better memory consolidation. While preliminary, the findings suggested that silence could be therapeutic for conditions like depression and alzheimer’s, which are associated with decreased rates of neuron regeneration in the hippocampus.
Silence stimulates brain growth: Sitting in silence could also boost brain growth by creating new cells. A 2013 study published in the Journal Brain Structure and Function found at least two hours of silence could create new cells in the hippocampus region. This is essential since the hippocampus is linked to our ability to learn, remember things, and even our emotions.
Silence fights Insomnia: Spending a few minutes a day in silence can lead to improved sleep, especially for insomniacs. A 2015 Study in JAMA Internal Medicine found older adults who had trouble sleeping experienced less insomnia, fatigue, and depression after doing mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on our breathing and then bringing our mind’s attention to the present without thinking about the past or the future. It helps to break the train of everyday thoughts to provoke a relaxation response.
Silence is good for overall physical health and well-being as it helps in:
Boosting the body’s immune system.
Decreasing stress by lowering blood cortisol levels and adrenaline.
Promoting good hormone regulation and the interaction of bodily hormone-relate systems.
Preventing plaque formation in arteries.
Calming down the hyper-activated nervous system.
Helping in boosting focus and concentration.
Silence promotes psychological and emotional benefits too:
Problem-solving and creativity – When allowing thoughts to go where they will, inspiration may bubble up. Solutions to current or long-standing problems may suddenly occur to you, or a work-around or innovative approach may seem more feasible. Ideas for going in a different direction could coalesce, helping build momentum and excitement for spinning them off into yet other potential avenues to pursue.
Self-awareness and better understanding of the environment – Once you’re comfortable in your silence, you’ll notice a distinct shift in your ability to be more self-aware. In addition, you can better appreciate the world around you, including your immediate environment.
Reflection and action – Silence permits the kind of reflection that is beyond mere introspection. It promotes the ability to connect threads in a seemingly disorganized, disconnected world. After meditating in silence, you may be more motivated to mend significant relationships that have become strained, embark upon a self-improvement program, pursue a more challenging career path, vow to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Sensitivity to flow of life force and understanding of the true potential– As a living organism, becoming aware of your essence, your flow of life force is important to maximizing your potential and impact on those closest to you. No one exists in a vacuum. We’re all members of the human species. As such, our life force separates us from all other species.
Silence replenish our mental resources – The unending demands of modern life put a significant burden on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is involved in high-order thinking, decision-making and problem-solving. As a result, we become distracted and mentally fatigued, and may struggle to focus, solve problems and come up with new ideas. But according to Attention Restoration Theory, the brain can restore its finite cognitive resources when we are in Silence.
In Silence, we can tap into the brain’s default mode network The default mode network of the brain is activated when we engage in what scientists refer to as “self-generated cognition,” such as daydreaming, meditating, fantasizing about the future or just letting our minds wonder. In Silence, we can finally tap into our inner stream of thoughts, emotions, memories and ideas.
As Herman Melville once wrote, “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”
After going through the aforesaid research, I just want to convey that Silence can be a wonderful drug and a remedy to many of the maladies of the present modern-day world. Self-realization is the most important key to understand how can we improve our life by practicing Silence. What I discovered and realized, I will share with you in the next article.
About Dr.Gazal Goyal Bansal
Founder and CEO, Life Coach and Speaker, Dr. Gazal Bansal is a
Doctorate in Political Science, UGC (JRF), a Gold Medalist, Certified ISO 22000 Lead Auditor, a Licensed Practitioner of NLP from The Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (TM) & a Pranic Healer.
As a spiritual evangelist and a practical thinker, she is a radical enthusiast and a firm believer in the philosophy of conceptual pragmatism, logical reasoning, and the spiritual energy matrix. She is a staunch believer of the fact that before you speak, your energy speaks.