Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Silence is Golden, Really

Fallen camellias at Caroline's house.More beautiful than when on the tree.
It's Tuesday morning in Seattle and the sun is shining. Brightly. At the moment. I'll bet Caroline is walking Green Lake before work. Jeanne just left for her morning of pre-school teaching. Kids all off to school. Is it serendipity that an article on the benefits of silence popped up on my iPhone? The house is totally quiet and suddenly, I feel free and energized. This is a morning for recharging and perhaps, even a morning for writing?
And quoting freely from the Huffington Post article - here are the benefits of silence for one's brain:
1. Silence relieves/releases body stress and tension. Yes, silence is like entering another world where I don't have to hold my body tightly against vibrations and battering noises. I can feel my body relax when it encounters silence. In fact, I sometimes recognize silence because I sense my body relaxing. "Oh, it's quiet. Enjoy."
And a fact from a 2006 study in the journal Heart found that two minutes of silence is more relaxing than listening to relaxing music - this finding based on changes in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.
2. Silence replenishes our mental resources. Yes, definitely. Silence gives me a recharge. According to attention restoration theory, our brains can restore finite cognitive resources when we are in environments with lower levels of sensory input. Our brain can rest.
3. When there is silence, we go to our brain's default node network. What's this? The happy past time of day dreaming, meditating, mind wandering. My favorite place to be - especially just after waking in the morning. Best creative time ever.
And read this quote of Herman Melville's from the article: "All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence."
4. Silence grows brain cells. Really. Two hours of silence a day leads to new brain cells in the region associated with learning, memory and emotion. Silence can be therapeutic for depression - guess that means that new brain cells won't be depressed?
It's quiet in this house right now and I am happy to be enveloped in the silence. Silence is both a luxury and a necessity.

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