I live right by the ocean. It’s nice. A refreshing sea breeze, rustling palm trees, the soothing rhythmic sound of the waves lulling you to sleep – that’s how I imagined life by the ocean.
Boy, I was wrong… the non-stop drilling coming from the parking area, traffic noise and the hum of the neighbor’s air-conditioning at night seem to go hand-in-hand with city living.
Whether you have a condo in Miami, a house in Newcastle or an apartment in Rome, it’s not easy to find silence in the modern world. Crowded airports, sporting events, kid’s birthday parties, colleagues chattering in the background, even the constant buzz of technology seem to follow us throughout the day.
A few minutes of peace and quiet, sounds heavenly (especially since we don’t get nearly as much quiet time as we need, cheating ourselves on the numerous benefits of silence and solitude).
Galen Guengerich, Ph.D in his article ‘Getting Your Minimum Daily Requirement of Silence’ talks about two curious studies conducted by psychologists at the University of Michnigan and Neuroscientists at Stanford. Both studies have to do with the positive effects of silence on our brain activity.
It has been demonstrated, for example, that people learn better, after a stroll in the woods than a walk along a busy street.
Why? Because if there are numerous stimuli in the environment that demand your attention, your cognitive resources including memory and ability to focus, become greatly reduced.
Another study has shown that the silent intervals when listening to music trigger the most intense and positive brain activity. Silent moments boost creativity, help to create more vivid memories and increase concentration.
Silence for the mind is just as important as proper nutrition for the body.
You can’t always get away from city noise or disconnect from smart technology, but you CAN increase your silent time.
Give yourself at least 15 minutes of peace and quiet a day. Block out office hum by classical or brainwave music, meditate, or take a walk in a park.
If this doesn’t help, buy a silence ‘gun’! Invented by two Japanese researchers, this device can stop a person from speaking from more than 100 feet away. You can read more about it here and, don’t worry, it has no negative effects on the person that is being shushed.
The silence device is intended to be used in quiet spaces, such as libraries, to stop people from talking. Although, it could be a great way to avoid an argument and prevent yourself from saying things you know you will regret.
What are your thoughts?
Do you give yourself time to rest from city noise?