Tapping into the Brain Power of Silence

Silence blog

If only there was a notification for silence.  

In a world of noise pollution, leveraging silence is an untapped competitive advantage.  Silence stimulates brain growth, enhances focus, and reduces stress.  Here are a few ways to tap into the brain power of silence.  

Why Silence is Good for Our Brains

The research is clear: silence is good for our brains.

  • A study published in the journal ‘Brain, Structure and Function’ found that even just two hours of silence has the power to create new cells in our hippocampus region, which is a part of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning (Pearl Recruitment).  
  • Silence helps us tap into our brain’s default mode network. “When the brain is idle and disengaged from external stimuli, we can finally tap into our inner stream of thoughts, emotions, memories, and ideas.  Engaging this network helps us to make meaning out of our experiences, empathize with others, be more creative, and reflect on our own mental and emotional states (Gregoire).”
  • Silence enhances focus and learning. When engaging in complex tasks, a quiet workspace facilitates better comprehension and retention of information.

Silence and Stress

Loud environments increase stress.  In fact, the World Health Organization called noise pollution a modern plague which adversely impacts our health. Physically, the impact starts in our ears. Neuroscience research shows that when sound waves hit our eardrums, they are converted to electrical signals which go to the amygdalae, the neurons that form the emotional part of our lives including our fight or flight response. This signals our bodies to create stress hormones (Zorn and Marz, Time Magazine).  

Noise causes our brains to tell us we are in a state of stress. “Noises cause stress, especially if we have little or no control over them,” explains Professor Mathias Baser of University of Pennsylvania.  “The body will excrete stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that lead to changes in the composition of our blood–and of our blood vessels, which actually have been shown to be stiffer after a single night of noise exposure.”  

Tapping into the Power of Silence

There are many ways to tap into more silence in our lives.

  • Create boundaries.  Turn off notifications on your phone and put your phone in silence mode. Tell those people closest to you that your phone will only go off in case of emergency. Also create boundaries by blocking off time on your calendar daily for quiet work.  
  • Set up a quiet workspace. Take steps to create one at home or find ways to reduce noise in your office. A white noise machine can help if it is not possible to achieve silence. Some offices consult acoustical engineers to help better sound conditions. Soft furnishings like rugs and curtains can help absorb sound.  For those more serious about creating quiet, acoustic foam panels, soundproof curtains, and weather stripping are other ways to block out noise.
  • Start each day quietly by journaling or even with just a few minutes of silent reflection.  
  • Do not avoid simply “being.” Tell yourself that there is no need to constantly be on call.  Quietly take in the world around you as you go through your day.

Make silence a priority in your life and see how you feel.  Herman Melville once said, “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and amended by Silence, and Silence is the consecration of the universe.” 

Artemis Consultants is committed to finding ways to support the health of the clients and candidates we serve.  Check out our other research-based blog posts.

Written exclusively for Artemis Consultants by Business Content Writer Mellody Melville

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