It seems like nowadays, even in the remotest corner, there is too much noise. Traffic, screens, crowds… too many stimuli that tire our brain. And, when we arrive home, we impose the noise ourselves: music, series, television, etc.
Silence has become a commodity that can only be accessed by privileged people.
Maybe, especially in the Spanish culture, we automatically associate silence to boredom and even sickness. However, it is true that noise is increasingly becoming a synonym of stress.
If you travel to a place like Finland or Copenhagen and suddenly perceive extreme silence, do not fret. Simply enjoy it, when you return to your habitat, you will appreciate it.
And, if you cannot travel so far, don’t worry, it is not necessary. Doctors advise finding moments of silence during the day: without music, without voices, without noises that disturb us, even if it is just for five minutes.
Scientists have proven that living near a very noisy area, such as an airport or road, has its harmful effects, such as high blood pressure or insomnia.
Sound waves vibrate in the ear bones, which transmit the movement to the snail-shaped cochlea. The cochlea transforms the physical vibrations into electric signals. The body reacts immediately to these signals, even in the middle of a deep sleep. This activation triggers an immediate release of stress hormones, such as cortisol. And for this reason, people that live consistently exposed to noisy environments suffer chronically high levels of stress.
However, if we intersperse all this noise pollution with pauses of just two minutes of silence, our heart rate will drop considerably and our breathing will return to normal.
Another study by the University of Duke showed that mice exposed to a lot of noise and then to 2 hours of silence started to develop new nerve cells, which is known as neurogenesis. Researchers theorize that this could be due to the fact that the brain enters into a highly sensitive state of alert when there is silence, as we are not used to it.
Therefore, let’s all contribute to not making noise and to learning how to appreciate silence.