Do yourself a favour and just keep quiet!

Five ways to de-stress, return calm and control.

Making time for silence can make you feel less stressed, more focused and more creative, according to science. The World Health Organization has called noise pollution a “modern plague,” There is overwhelming evidence that environmental noise adversely affects our health.

Some people have been driven to murder, citing persistently high noise levels as the reason for killing the neighbour. On a personal level, I must confess that I have complete empathy and totally understand this when parties in my neighbourhood have continued well into the next morning. Edinburgh has its own “Noise Police” with a help-line to call to prevent anti-social noise pollution. It recognises the misery and harm that this can bring.

Everywhere we go, there is a constant racket. People leave their TV’s on all day for the background noise, gyms play music in every area, including the changing rooms and swimming pools. And just to make sure that there isn’t a single chance of peace and quiet, we are plugged into mobile music devices, with music spilling out for ourselves and for good measure, those around us. Children have computer programmes that trill, jingle and ding, we all have phones that buzz, ring and ping. Is it really necessary and is it a good thing?

Just take a moment to ask yourself, how long do you spend each day in total silence?

Silence relieves stress and tension. Florence Nightingale, the 19th century British nurse who founded modern nursing wrote that “Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on sick or well.” She believed that needless sounds could cause distress, sleep loss and alarm for recovering patients.

The constant use of headphones and “cranking up the tunes today may lead to the inability to hear them tomorrow,” according to the World Health Organization. Over 1.1 billion people ages 12-35 are at risk of hearing loss, the WHO said in a recent statement.

According to http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/07-08/silence.aspx the effects of noise pollution has been found to lead to:

  • Heart Attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired hearing
  • Reduced overall health

Five steps to bring back and support a little silence in your world

  1. Buy some ear plugs! Or have your head phones in but nothing switched on. Give yourself a break.
  2. Find a quiet place somewhere in your home that you can be in for 10 minutes a day. Silence replenishes our mental resources.
  3. Our brain needs time to drift and day dream and if we are constantly distracted it doesn’t have the chance to have down time.
  4. Go for a walk (no phone/devices!). This improves the brain’s health and allows us to recalibrate our thoughts, feelings, often see a different and a more accurate perspective.
  5. The brain makes up 2% of body weight but uses up 20% of our energy – it becomes tired and overloaded and so do we! Make sure you feed it the food it likes for support: oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring and anchovies; blueberries, nuts, avocado, foods rich in B complex and vitamin C, Sage, Turmeric and Gingko Biloba
  6. When you are at work, if you have to prepare detailed reports, bids or need to be able to focus and concentrate, decamp to a side room if possible and put up a “do not disturb notice” It takes 20 minutes for the brain to ramp up to maximum efficiency. Switch off your phone/laptop/email alerts/music device and anything else that may distract If you are used to constant interruptions, it may seem strange and uncomfortable to begin with but by persevering, you will find that the benefits far outweigh the discomfort of a new learning curve.

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