Silence. How often do you truly get to experience this? Nowadays, silence is a very rare commodity indeed as we are constantly bombarded with noises from people, traffic, airplanes, music, advertisements, construction and the list goes on. I’ve been thinking a lot about silence and how much I would like some as I’ve been travelling and am constantly subjected to honking cars, screaming tourists, and clanking sounds all around me. Silence, is actually not something that is very easily obtainable -silence is golden. So how important is silence and is it a detriment to the well-being of our minds if we don’t have it?
In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that actually used silence as a marketing product. Their campaign aimed to entice people to visit Finland to experience the beauty of the silent land. The campaign released a series of photos of single figures in nature along with the headline, “Silence, Please.” Another tagline was added by Simon Ahnolt, an international country branding consultant that said, “No talking, but action.”
Finland is onto something here. In their campaign we are seeing the beginning of using silence as a marketing technique as it is something that is becoming more and more attractive as it is becoming more and more rare. Really, think about it, how often are you in complete silence? Noise pollution is something we deal with every single day and often, we don’t think twice about it. Scientific studies are now showing that silence is much more important for our brains than you might think.
Science For Silence
A study published in 2013 in the journal, Brain, Structure and Function, used various types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of mice. The silence was intended to be the control in the study, but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of complete silence per day they actually developed new brain cells in the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain that is associated with memory, emotion and learning new things.
The growth of new brain cells doesn’t always mean improved health benefits, but in this instance one of the researchers, Imke Kirste, says that these new cells appeared to become functioning neurons.
“We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons and integrate into the system.”
So, basically this means that silence can actually grow your brain.