Sometimes five minutes of silence is enough to find calm, balance and see things as they are. Just a brief moment of peace, away from the noise and conversations that never stop and suddenly, our brain starts working on another level. Thus, as revealed by several studies, the human being also needs silence to create new connections and brain cells.
The subject is certainly more than interesting. We all, in a way, felt that enjoying a time of silence chosen is an act of great therapeutic power. We say "chosen" because if there is one thing that various experiences have also shown is that subjecting human beings to a state of complete isolation and rigorous silence for days or weeks has often harmful effects.
"The principle of wisdom is silence."
Humans are social beings and we need interaction and stimulating environments to live and grow. Now, just as we need these places inhabited by dialogue, music and the rumor of sociability, our brain also needs their moments of silence. And it's not a whim, it's a physiological need. Just like eating or sleeping.
In fact, one could say, almost without fear of being wrong, that between the different levels of Maslow's pyramid of needs, there should be a silence between the most basic links.
Five minutes of silence to change your brain
Can five minutes of silence really have so many benefits? The reality is that it is, and we are not saying it, nor any guru of personal growth. A study published in the journal "Brain, Structure and Function "reveals it. The neuroscience of silence in the era of noise becomes more and more important, to the point that tourism aimed at facilitating contact with this dimension is proliferating more and more.
The famous "silent retreats" are already combined with these tourist packages in countries like Finland, places that have ideal environments to allow us to embrace this calm, this absence of noise, sounds and urbanity. However, before we get carried away by these proposals, we must apply logic. You do not have to go very far to give this gift to your brain.
Silence helps us develop new brain cells
We live in a world saturated with decibels. Television, our favorite bands playing in our headphones when we roam the streets, traffic, conversations, music in stores and supermarkets … We live in cities where silence does not exist, where the sound models life and our consumption.
Now, if we could enjoy five minutes of complete silence a day, several things would happen. One of them is that new cells would develop in the hippocampus. This area of the brain is linked to our memory and our emotions. The second is that these cells would allow us to think more clearly and better connect to our environment and to ourselves.
Silence enhances our sensitivity and empathy
It's an interesting fact. As we already know, many areas of the brain are associated with emotional sensitivity and empathy. One of them is undoubtedly the right supramarginal convolution. So, and this is something that has been observed, is that when this area is damaged or has little interconnection, our empathy is reduced. In addition, we become slower to make decisions and we show less interest in what surrounds us.
Enjoying moments of peace or five minutes of silence a day improves the activity of the right supramarginal convolution of our brain. As a result, our ability to be moved and empathic is reinforced.
Less stress, for better decisions
When our environment is overloaded with noise, the cerebral tonsil is activated. This small structure is like our danger and threat detector, which interprets that there is a risk around us and that we have to flee. So, as striking as it may seem, the loud noises or even the mere rumor of the traffic are boring for this area, something we can defend ourselves against. It therefore generates a stress response by stimulating the release of cortisol.
In this way, we can already feel what it means to give ourselves five minutes of silence. As revealed by a study published in the American Psychological Association, silence is not only a great way to reduce stress. Thanks to it, we release serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin …
In addition, it improves our sense of well-being and with it, we feel more confident and focused when we make decisions. Neither can we neglect its positive effect on our cognitive processes. Memory is strengthened, attention is better focused, information is processed more quickly and our consciousness is "awake". We feel more connected to the present and prepared for all that it can bring.
To conclude, as Friedrich Nietzsche said, "The path to all great things is through silenceSo let us go there more frequently. Let's learn to turn off the button of our troubled outer worlds from time to time for a walk in our inner universes. When we come out of them, we will not be the same.