I thrive in silence, yet I know many who prefer background noise.
Which describes you? Or do different days dictate your downtime preferences?
I’d attribute my love for silence to my upbringing. Only child, calm household, learned to self-entertain with books, toys, dolls, pets, and the outdoors.
Though as we know, life goes in waves and our interests, social settings and preferences can and do shift.
I enjoyed a busy lifestyle very much in my early adult years, but I’ve certainly reversed to enjoying silence much more during my current mode of life.
And as the years pass on, when moments shift between calm and crazy, when left to my own devices, I choose silence. I choose a dimly light room, a book, my dog, and just being in a blank-slate state of mind. We know how easy it is to over-think, over-worry, over-contemplate, over-review, so why not just release it all, even if just for an hour here and there?
I can think of many reasons why silence and slowing it all down helps my health, my mood, and my relationships.
This is a mindful silencing. It allows your brain to catch up. It allows you to decompress. It reduces the over-stimulation that we all experience each day through conversations, mental to-do lists, screen time, physical exercise, medical worries, and all the rigmarole.
It soothes me. It relaxes me. It’s one of my happy places. I’ve learned to love being present with myself.
I’ve also learned not all others will understand or be okay with (weird to say, but trust me – I’ve lived this experience too) what I choose to do. I’ve had individuals in my life that think it is weird or question why I like to relax in the dark; why I don’t want the TV on and have three electronic devices in front of me like they do. To each their own.
As individuals, we like different things, have differing viewpoints, and choose to spend our “me” time differently. There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about learning to respect ourselves and each other. I credit family influences for teaching me to learn at an early age why respecting others is important and a trait to instill in future generations.
Don’t confuse silence with depression. If you like the silence – enjoy it. Do not cave in or let another person (even a partner) dictate what you like or infer that something must be wrong with you. Nothing is wrong with you. Same goes for those who enjoy all the noise.
Silence allows me to be most present with myself and in turn allows me to be the best version of myself and be the most present in my personal and professional life. Time is limited for all of us. When I dedicate my time to a project, a person, or an activity – I want to be present.
I don’t need silence every day. But some days my body, health and mind nearly force my hand at silence. As I’ve spoken about before, I’ve learned through trial and error to really understand the needs of my body. I know those needs will change at times, they are bound to. I’m consciously aware and will adjust accordingly.
An example: I had just returned from a six-day trip that involved visiting two different locations. I unpacked, got things sorted at home, had a nourishing dinner and it hit me: I need silence. I need comfort. The TV, extra noise, or lights sounded like the worst thing possible. So, I opted to listen to my body and went to the bedroom, PJs on, lights off, and drifted off in the silence. It was the right decision for me.
Have you ever wondered about the restorative effects of silence?
Silence has been found to “lower the diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate and to decrease cortisol levels.”
“Silence relieves stress and tension in the brain and body. Silence is replenishing and nourishes our cognitive resources.”
Studies were conducted in Germany where individuals were exposed to several minutes of silence in various contexts. The result? Participants reported increased relaxation, improved mood, and silence also altered the perception of time and orientation toward the present moment.
This led me to want to learn why I love silence, including what research is out there on it. Am I the only one? I view myself as a sensitive person who feels on a deeper level. I wanted to initially say it’s because of the medical diagnoses, treatments, and limitations, but I think its far more complex than that.
Pythagoras said, “Learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb the silence.”
Krishnamurti said, “This quietness, this silence is the highest form of intelligence, which is never personal, never yours or mine. Being anonymous, it is whole and immaculate.”
How do you feel in silence? Do you choose it now or will you after reading this? Perhaps it’s something to test out…
“Studies show that for anyone … experiencing silence relieves stress, lower[s] blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain more so than listening to relaxing music.”
“Silence allows our prefrontal cortexes – our brains’ ‘attention centers’ to relax and restore.”
Silence also helps the human brain regenerate cells (which helps with memory, emotion, and learning)!
If you feel anxious when the room is silent or when you are by yourself, maybe you can learn to embrace it. Why not see what the power of silence can offer you after passing through the anxious state?
Learning to embrace and soak in the silence has offered rewards by leaps and bounds for me.
“Silence may not be a prominent topic in current health-related research, but there is evidence of growing interest.” This is music to my ears!
I stand with Erling Kagge in that, “I believe silence is the new luxury. Silence is more exclusive and long-lasting than other luxuries.”
Coming next: Who determined your self-image?