5 Health Benefits Of Silence For Your Mind And Body
Benefits Of Silence For Your Mind And Body
Just 2 hours of silence boosts the production of brain cells. This strengthens the hippocampus and improves your short- and long-term memory while lowering the risk for dementia. Even 2 minutes of silence can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. And 2 minutes of silence has more stress-lowering effect than soothing music. Silence through meditation can even help insomniacs relax and sleep better.
In a world of smartphones and technology, silence is hard to come by. Our days are full of notifications, television, and everything in between. Many people even prefer background noise.
For some, quietness feels strange. While it might feel weird, it can actually help your health. Here are 5 ways silence can benefit your mind and body.
1. Brain Cell Growth
Lectures, movies, and conversations are great tools for mental stimulation. But did you know that silence can also help?
According to a 2013 study in Brain Structure & Function, at least 2 hours of quietness increases the production of brain cells. It’s the brain’s way of preparing for upcoming mental challenges. Silence actually stresses out the brain – in a good way.1
2. Better Memory
As your brain makes more cells, your hippocampus will get stronger. This is the part of the brain that’s responsible for both short- and long-term memory. Spatial memory, such as navigation, is also controlled by the hippocampus. Finding your car keys depends on it!
Additionally, it’ll decrease your risk of dementia, which is caused by brain cell damage. The growth of new cells will keep it at bay.2
To strengthen your brain, embrace periods of silence. Sit in a quiet space when you’re trying to learn something new. The lack of noise will actually increase your brain function and help you focus.3
3. Heart Protection
Silence is amazing for the heart. A 2-minute pause can reduce your blood pressure and heart rate, which are both risk factors for heart disease. Even your blood circulation will improve.
It’s better than meditative music. Certain tunes can help heart rate, but they won’t have a major impact on blood pressure and respiration. Quietness, however, will improve all of these.4
4. Stress Relief And Relaxation
Stressed out? Bask in a moment of silence. A 2-minute pause will promote calmness, relaxation, and inner peace. For a greater effect, extend the pause to 5 minutes.
Often, people relax by listening to soothing music, like jazz or classical. Quietness actually has a greater effect than meditative melodies. This is caused by the sudden release of attention, which leaves a person in a relaxed state.5
So, the next time you’re feeling tense, find a quiet room. A few minutes of silence will do wonders.
5. Better Sleep (Especially For Insomniacs)
Silence is crucial for healthy sleep. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the best rest possible.6 Avoid extra noise, like music and television, to create a quiet sleeping environment.
Achieving silence through meditation can treat insomnia. According to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, it enhances the relaxation response and improves mood. Meditative exercises are also linked to a calmer nervous system. Together, all of these benefits encourage healthier rest.
You’ll be on the top of your game throughout the day. Mental alertness, concentration, and focus are just some of the benefits of quietness.7
Take time to savor the silence. If you live in a big city, consider soundproofing your walls. Going to meditation classes and hiking trips will also help you escape the noise.
Your Doubts Answered
1. How Do I Learn To Appreciate Silence?
Silence is an integral part of communication. I know this doesn't seem to make sense at first glance since many of us equate talking with communication. The reality is that most of our communicating is done through silent body language and the little verbal communication that takes place is enhanced by being silent and listening. And it is important to know that there can be inner silence and outer noise at the same time. We are all familiar with the outer noise which fills the spaces around us and prevents us from bathing in the silence of the ears. What is also important to know is that once the inner silence is strong enough it can be sustained in any situation including the noise around us. This is a very beneficial quality to have and leads to deeper peace and well being. Practice being silent in meditation and bring this silence into daily activity. It will reward you in many ways. When we begin to practice silence we may notice some resistance. Since silence is something that most of us are not used to, it is not unusual to encounter some pushback. When I began to practice silence many years ago, I noticed that from time to time that I became bored, restless and anxious. Over the years people have told me the same thing, although it can vary significantly from person to person. I persevered with practice and gradually the resistance went away and the many benefits of silence emerged. I have seen this practice of silence unfold in this way with thousands of people who were willing to commit to the practice. You too can begin to experience and appreciate the many benefits of silence.
2. I’m Struggling To Meditate And I Get Distracted Easily. Any Tips For Beginners?
Learning meditation is like learning anything new. There is usually some kind of resistance. And distraction is a major one. If we have a good plan for dealing with resistance and distraction then we are more likely to continue to practice. Setting up good habits for practicing meditation is an excellent way to begin. Here are five that I have found to be helpful. 1. Set up a regular schedule: We are creatures of habit so it is important especially in the beginning to set up a schedule that is the same every day. I recommend picking a time in the morning that allows you to practice before your daily activity. 2. Create a meditation space: Set up a space where you can be comfortable meditating that has few distractions. 3. Tend to your stomach. Get into the habit of meditating while your stomach is at ease. 4. Be gentle with yourself: If you set aside thirty minutes for meditation and find that you are struggling, then it is fine to shorten the meditation to accommodate the resistance. 5. Make a list of why you are meditating. Once you make your list of why you are meditating get into the habit of reviewing the list a least once a week. During times of resistance and distraction, this list will remind you why you are practicing. 6. Pick something simple like your breath to focus on in the beginning. When you notice that the attention is distracted, recognize the distraction and return to the breath. Embrace distraction in this way and you will create a successful relationship with your meditation practice.
References [ + ]
|1, 3.||↑||Kirste, Imke, Zeina Nicola, Golo Kronenberg, Tara L. Walker, Robert C. Liu, and Gerd Kempermann. “Is silence golden? Effects of auditory stimuli and their absence on adult hippocampal neurogenesis.” Brain Structure and Function 220, no. 2 (2015): 1221-1228.|
|2.||↑||What Is Dementia? Alzheimer’s Association.|
|4, 5.||↑||Bernardi, Luciano, Cesare Porta, and Peter Sleight. “Cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory changes induced by different types of music in musicians and non-musicians: the importance of silence.” Heart 92, no. 4 (2006): 445-452.|
|6.||↑||Address Your Sleep Issues. Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.|
|7.||↑||Black, David S., Gillian A. O’Reilly, Richard Olmstead, Elizabeth C. Breen, and Michael R. Irwin. “Mindfulness meditation and improvement in sleep quality and daytime impairment among older adults with sleep disturbances: a randomized clinical trial.” JAMA internal medicine 175, no. 4 (2015): 494-501.|
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.