I live a pretty noisy life. Aside from living in New York City, I usually have some kind of music or streaming video going on in the background of my life. It keeps my brain distracted while I do routine work on my computer or when I’m cleaning my apartment.
It turns out that maybe I should turn background noise off and maybe get out of the city more often. Our brains need silence to recuperate and heal. In an article on UpliftConnect, our brains use silence to prompt cell regeneration in the hippocampus, which controls memory and the senses.
According to the Attention Restoration Theory, when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input, the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. With our digital world, our brains get less time to switch off. We are constantly processing enormous amounts of information. Research has shown the constant attention demands of modern life is placing a lot of stress on our prefrontal cortex–the part of the brain responsible for making decisions, solving problems and more. When we spend time alone in silence, our brains are able to relax and release this constant focus.
Researchers found that silence helps new cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system, and that when we experience silence, our brains are able to work at better understanding our internal and external environments. We can make sense of our lives and gain perspective, something that is vital for our overall wellbeing.
It’s interesting how little we emphasize this need in our lives. Finland once advertised the silence of the landscape for tourism. Check out the ad below.