Silence is golden: implementing silence into our lives

Adam Flowers, Staff Reporter

One day, as I was sitting in my living room on a calming afternoon, I was shrouded by a beaming silence. There were no sounds to fill that void of laconism that my ears had experienced. In that moment, I felt calm and at peace. Needless to say, that simple, but soundless experience struck me with a captivating epiphany: we live in a world that is clouded in nothing but sounds. We increasingly find silence a very challenging and intangible to find. Yet, it is something that we can fix.

Silence is something that most people cannot stand. We’ve conditioned ourselves as a human race to never stay silent. Just to fill our ears, we play music, we watch TV, we have conversations, we listen to the radio and create a multitude of sounds in our own heads. It’s hard to even ascertain what a silent world would be like. Although, all of this noise pollution is affecting our brains.

Silence is healthy and good for your brain. Scientifically, it can help you have sparks of creativity, destress and refocus. According to an article on Huffington Post, Carolyn Gregoire states that loud noises raises stress levels by activating the brain’s amygdala and causing the release of the stress hormone cortisol. These effects can cause high blood pressure and it can even lead to heart attacks.

To contrast from this, silence has positive effects. A 2006 study in the journal Heart muses that two minutes of silence can be more effective and more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. Silence is also said to promote numerous psychological benefits. According to Psych Central, silence can help with creativity, self-awareness and especially insomnia.

Sound has a huge impact on your sleep cycle. Seemingly, most people fall asleep to some form of sound, such as relaxing sounds or white noise.

White noise is something so natural, but it has a potential to not be the greatest. In an article on JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco explored whether or not white noise can cause constant ringing in your ears. The team anatomized past animal studies that concluded that listening to white noise for long periods of time consistently can affect brain cells. With that, it can cause the individual to experience that familiar ringing in your ears, according to ScienceAlert.

That outlet explains that the animals were exposed to noise landing within the realm of 60 to 70 decibels. This is typically the same level as white noise machines. For comparison, a vacuum cleaner is typically at 70 dB. This decibel level is named “safe” by OSHA, or the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Debatably, white noise can be bad or completely harmless. Although, it’s essentially comes down to what you are conditioned to. During the day, we don’t get an opportunity to have complete and utter silence. Typically before you go to sleep, silence is everywhere. That silence can be used to help your brain cells develop. According to a 2013 study on mice, scientists compared white noise, ambient noise, pup calls and silence on the mouses’ brains. They found that two hours of silence led to development in the hippocampus. Not only this, but silence can be therapeutic to depression and Alzheimer’s.

In this boisterous world, we’re confronted with the challenge of practicing silence. Although, there are many ways to practice, such as silent meditation and engaging in deep breathing exercises. An article on Psych Central suggests that you should stay in bed for an extra five minutes before you start your day. You can utilize this time to wake up and reflect on your thoughts. As a society, we often overlook silence and the power it as. Yet, when you are in a time of stress or need to decompress, just remember that silence is golden.