When you were growing up were you told ‘silence is golden’, I didn’t really appreciate the sentiment as a youngster, thinking it was over-rated, along with ‘children should be seen and not heard’… But as it turns out, our very modern busy lives are filled with distraction and noise, and actually finding periods of peace and quiet can be our salvation!
Noise pollution is actually quite a threat to health, and it’s a difficult one to manage – you don’t physically see that noise is having an impact on the quality of your life, but in fact constantly living with noise can increase your blood pressure, reduce your concentration levels and productivity and disturb sleep to name a few.
Some noise comes externally, like building works, aeroplanes, traffic and so on, but other noise can be brought on by ourselves, by not switching off from modern technology.
Of course, some noise is to be expected and welcomed, like the odd mowing of a lawn, children playing or a BBQ getting going. But having some peace and quiet, doesn’t mean totally isolating yourself from all noise, but merely carving out a period of time where you have some solace from the world and an ability to calm your mind and tune-out the external noises – real or perceived.
There are many different ways you could carve out an interlude of peace, for example:
- Many people find gardening can be very therapeutic, some like the daily activity of dead-heading plants, watering and generally nurturing something that is growing. The garden is a constant source of renewal and is a great reminder of the seasons and that good things come around each year. Try and tune into the positive sounds in the garden – leaves rustling, birds singing and water tumbling, and leave other noise behind.
- For many, tuning out the world comes in the form of a book. Allow the stories and characters in the book to totally transport you away from your life and distractions for a short period of time. The great thing about reading is that it is so portable, you can curl up in the garden or on the sofa, but equally you can use it to create calm during a lunch break or during a commute.
- Meditation for many is the greatest way to carve out some silence, and truly leave behind both external noises as well as internal chatter. Meditation need not be complicated or even prolonged, 5 minutes snatched during a day when you feel your wellbeing is being stretched can do wonders. If possible, find a quiet space, close your eyes and take a deep breath in for four counts and then exhale for eight, repeating this process five times should really restore your equilibrium and evaporate stress.