By American Counseling Association
Special to Village News 

Benefit from the silence

 

Last updated 3/29/2019 at 7:42pm



As people have probably noticed, it’s a noisy world. Technology helps ensure people are never sitting in silence, but experts advise that may not be the best thing for them.

Silence and solitude have been shown to improve physical and mental well-being. And gaining the benefits of silence in their lives really isn’t that difficult.

Researchers found that even a quiet walk in a park can stimulate brain growth in the hippocampus, leading to better memory. They found that three walks per week of 40 minutes were enough to stimulate such growth.

The noise of life has a measurable effect on the brain. Sounds people hear cause their bodies to react, stimulating the release of stress hormones. Silence has an opposite effect. One study found silence could reduce tension after just two minutes. Silence was more relaxing than music, helping lower blood pressure and improving blood circulation in the brain. Silence has also been shown to benefit the body’s immune system, reduce plaque formation in arteries and help fight insomnia.


So how do people reduce the noise in their life? It starts with a conscious choice to seek the silence. Put away the tech devices, escape from the demands of family, friends and work and instead find silence, even if only in small bites of quiet time.

One easy way is to get outside in nature and take a walk. It’s fine to take a walk with someone, but just agree that at least part of the walk will be in mutual silence.

Considering starting off the day with a five-minute delay in getting out of bed. Use the time to awaken slowly, enjoy the early morning quiet and think warm, pleasant thoughts rather than rushing into the worries and pressures of the day.

Another simple way to focus on silence is with deep breathing exercises during the day. Focusing on breathing, even for just a minute or two, can help calm the mind and shut out the noises of the world.

Meditation is another path to silence for many. Whether someone uses an online app to teach themselves or takes a group class, it can help them silently focus on their thoughts.

Silence may seem hard to find at times, but putting some silence in their life can bring people considerable benefits.

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Send comments and questions to ACAcorner@counseling.org or visit the ACA website at http://www.counseling.org.

 

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