Parents and teachers, along with the overworked and the stressed-out all yearn for it, and the Desiderata could not have been more correct.
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence…”
In music, its equivalent is that momentary pause, aptly termed as the Rest. Some musicians even go at length to poetically refer to the spaces between each note as the real connect in all musical compositions.
This value is likewise true in life. We also need silence to rest our minds (though it might not be up there along with water and breathing).
While still limited to lab rats, experiments by scientists have shown that there lies a huge behavioral disparity between mice exposed to noise of any kind (including music) and mice confined in sound-proof cages. Another research reported that neurogenesis, or the formation of nervous tissues, is significantly hastened in the particular area of the brain, the Hippocampus, home of memory and the five senses, when one devotes two hours a day for silence.
Now, I’m not one to argue, as it could all be fake news. Not a scientist or doctor either, but I like to believe there must be some truth in these. For one, silence is conducive for reflection, and that doesn’t mean I’m selling you on the idea of meditation or yoga here. Fun fact: If you happened to drop by any empty place of worship, you’ll note that you can actually “hear” yourself think.
Meanwhile, daily chores, menial or not, for work or for pleasure, all these require directing our energies outward. Activities like sports or even reading, likewise consume energy at varying degrees. Eventually, these tire out both mind and body.
Silence, on the other hand, redirects one’s attention inward, so that, whatever else is “outside” is left by the door. Some may disagree, but noise actually has adverse effects on a person’s well-being, as this is when stress hormones are likely released. This is especially true when unnecessary noise compound worrisome, ergo stressful periods. In many cases even, fear or apprehension of an impending event can be stressful enough.
Back to Desiderata. Silence can relieve stress, and when you pause, and block out the din, the brain is freer to peer inward and review information. Like a lappie in safe-mode, the brain at rest is nonetheless still active, but rid of outside stimulation. This means that it can focus and sort out whatever inputs or stimuli we have received during the course of the day and assess each one. By the way, did you know that some psychologists believe that, as the brain processes all said data, it throws out the excess (as in recycle bin) and recreates a collage of all singular moments, maybe to make some sense of it all? Sweet are dreams of these, and who am I to disagree.
“Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility. Without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed, or unhappy because of circumstances.” -Dalai Lama
So go placidly Brainiac. I am going to shut the front door now.