“Silence is a source of great strength.” – Lao Tzu
It goes without saying that there is little silence in your work life. Throughout your workday, there is, well, noise. Whether you realize it or not, you are always listening, whether it’s to other people during a meeting, a podcast or playlist you’re listening to to drown out other people working, or engaging with people in spaces filled with music or general noise, you are always listening. While it seems necessary to always be on, concentrating on this constant noise is exhausting you, increasing your stress level, and impacting your productivity (and not in a good way).
There are benefits to your body and mind to creating pockets of silence during the workday. Silence is regenerative and can help boost cognition, decrease your stress level, and even help areas of your brain grow.
Improve Your Memory
A 2011 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found adults who walked for 40 minutes three times a week for a year had brain growth in the hippocampus — an area of the brain associated with spatial memory. Being in nature helps you focus and improve your memory. (Source: Medical Daily)
Grow your brain
Sitting in silence can boost brain growth. A 2013 study published in the journal Brain Structure and Function found at least two hours of silence could create new cells in the hippocampus region. This is essential since the hippocampus is linked to our ability to learn, remember things, and even our emotions. (Source: Medical Daily)
Say goodbye to stress
Noise has a pronounced physical effect on the brain, which can lead to elevated levels of stress hormones. A 2006 study in Heart found silence can release tension in the brain and body in just two minutes. Researchers found it was more relaxing than listening to "relaxing" music. This was based on changes in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain. (Source: Medical Daily)
improve your sleep
Spending a few minutes a day in silence can lead to improved sleep, especially for insomniacs. A 2015 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that adults who had trouble sleeping experienced less insomnia, fatigue, and depression after doing mindfulness meditation during the day. A mindfulness meditation walk (click here on how to build a daily mindful walking practice) can help you sleep better. (Source: Medical Daily)
So, whether you have to steal a few minutes of quiet in the bathroom at the office (no joke) or have the luxury of going for a walk somewhere quiet, prioritize silence into your workday. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you for it.