True silence isn’t easy to find in our modern world. Here in the United States, your best bet may be smack in the middle of one of our more remote national parks, where noise levels dip to the time of early settlers, but a new report may encourage you to seek out those quiet moments wherever you can find them—especially when you consider the benefits.
Published in the science magazine Nautilus, the report highlights findings from several key studies on the benefits of silence. In one study involving mice, exposure to long periods of silence was shown to stimulate new cell development in the brain’s memory center—possibly because the atypical silence allowed for increased activity in their brains, said Duke University biologist Imke Kirste.
In another study designed to look at how humans react to different types of music, people were asked to listen to a variety of musical tracks interspersed with two-minute periods of noiselessness. Interestingly, it was during those brief moments of silence that the real magic happened: stress levels decreased, and the participants became notably more relaxed than they had been while listening to the music.
So, while you may not be able to pack up and head to Yellowstone for some quiet time, finding a few minutes in your day to unplug, tune out, and take in the silence may be the next best thing. Your brain and your mental health will thank you.