The power of silence: the benefits of silence for mental and physical health -Dlight News

Illustration of woman sat on musical scale notation

MOST days, I am drowning in noise. As a work-from-home mom, I’m stuck in the middle of a busy house with two dogs, two teenagers, and a husband who works from the next room. It’s a cacophony of Zoom calls, phone notifications, video games, music, and barking, and that’s before my neighbor turns on his leaf blower.

Is it any wonder I crave a bit of silence? The World Health Organization has my back: it says our world is too noisy and this is damaging our health. Of course, for centuries we have known the importance of stillness: in many religions, silence is promoted as a vital healing process. But my noisy environment made me wonder what benefits seeking silence has in the modern age.

These days, people go in search of tranquility to all kinds of places. They join monasteries for a silent retreat or head to the hills for a peaceful weekend. There’s even a growing trend to spend time in flotation tanks or sensory deprivation, if you can afford it. In fact, in his book Silence: in the age of noiseNorwegian explorer Erling Kagge calls silence “the new luxury.”

Discovering what peace and quiet really do for our mental and physical health is the ambition of a group of neuroscientists and health professionals who are beginning to unravel the benefits. As I become familiar with his research, I discover that a little silence can be vital to offset the detrimental effects of our noisy world. But how much peace of mind do I need and where should I get it?

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