“Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on sick or well.” ~ Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), social reformer and founder of modern nursing
In a world and culture of increasing and relentless noise, the benefits and healing power of silence is getting more attention.
Constant noise & tech exposure takes its toll on your health, mind, wellbeing and creativity. Quiet time benefits all, and then some.
The Details and the Story on Noise & Quiet
This story and theme has an unexpected link to Mary Magdalene, in whose remembrance the July 22nd ‘feast day’ is observed. But first, another, more recent heroine.
Florence Nightingale, the social reformer and founder of modern nursing, noticed this more than 100 years ago, observing that “unnecessary noise” was aggravating to her patients, causing distress, interrupting sleep, and interfering with healing.
Contemporary science is proving Nightingale’s observations, confirming what we likely know but perhaps don’t have the will to do much about.
The perpetual noise and being ‘plugged in’ from the time we awaken in the morning to the time we go to bed at night — and likely while we (attempt to) sleep, if we keep our electronic gadgets nearby, or have music playing or the television left on.
Neuroscience researchers and timeless spiritual wisdom agree when it comes not just to the luxury of quiet time, but the necessity of it for health, healing, and wellbeing.
Do a web search on it and you’ll see for yourself the number of research studies delving into various aspects of noise, being perpetually ‘plugged in’, and the effects on the brain and thus the rest of our body.
Stress, anxiety, higher blood pressure, disrupted sleep, fragmented attention spans. The list goes on. And on. And on.
For the technophiles among us — those of us who love, are grateful for, and frequently use the technology — this underscores the need to be mindful and discerning about time away from it.
But the noise comes at us from all directions, constantly, not just our personal use of all the gadgets in a typical household or neighborhood.
The healing and wellbeing-supportive effects of non-tech environments, and some actual quiet time, become even more important.
A Huffington Post article, “Why Silence is So Good for Your Brain,” neatly refers to several different research studies, including one that found that even two minutes of silence was more beneficial than listening to relaxing music.
A Nautilus Journal article, “This is Your Brain on Silence,” notes that in our time of perpetual noise and distraction, silence is becoming a hot commodity.
“In a loud world, silence sells,” notes the Nautilus interviewee.
You know you’re in trouble when.
Yet while some may gladly pay for silence, and at premium prices, it can pretty much be free, if we choose it and apply some creativity (and, if addicted to the over-stimulation, a bit of will and resilience, and a good mentor/teacher or two).
A Pew research study found that 75-percent of those surveyed about the value of their public libraries cited the access to quiet.
Otherwise, there are more than a few possibilities for enjoying the wonderful technology, and allowing our mind, brain, and body to slow down, and bathe and heal in a bit of stillness and quiet.
Meditation; quiet reflection; stepping away from the tech, turning off the smartphones and televisions and laptops, or stepping away from the ‘hearing zone’ of them (and sensing zone, since the static they throw off can be equally agitating); “getting some Nature,” as a friend of mine says.
To see the effects of the over-stimulation and chronic noise — and the research at this point is pretty decisive — is enough to move most of us to make better decisions, for ourselves and those in our care.
Shhhhh. Where will you make room for some quiet each day?
(A few minutes before the day’s activity and just before you turn in for sleep are good places to begin.)
For the Mary Magdalene link, see The Inner Way of Mary Magdalene.
See also: My recent post, The Value of Boredom & Brain-Recovery TIme
Big Love & Wishing you wellbeing,