Let's face it: everyone is stressed at some point in their lives. Mental burdens like time constraints, money worries, trouble at work, relationship issues or major life changes contribute to our overall stress level. Doctors agree that high levels of stress can be detrimental to our health and can result in chronic headaches, anxiety, muscle pain, sleep problems or worse.
Many doctors recommend exercise, massages, a hobby and socializing to reduce mental stress. However, many people lead hectic, fast-paced lives. If you have neither the time nor the money for these activities, what can you do to de-stress?
The Science of Silence
Research indicates that simply spending time in silence provides stress relief. Scientists think that excessive exposure to noise is detrimental to physical health because it raises cortisol and adrenaline levels. This can cause heightened blood pressure and can even possibly lead to heart attack or stroke.
Several studies have shown that simply living near a crowded road for a long period of time can increase your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. People residing in these areas grow accustomed to this "noise pollution" and are often not aware of its effect on their mental health. However, the results of noise pollution are pervasive.
How much time do you spend in noisy environments like malls or subway stations? Do you constantly listen to music or have a tv playing in the background? Do you live near a busy intersection? Are you always talking on the phone while at work? Are there any new construction sites near your home or apartment? Perhaps all that noise is subconsciously raising your stress level. It may be beneficial to take some time to relax in silence.
Say "No" to Noise
To reduce your overall stress level, try making your world as quiet as possible. This process can be as comprehensive as you'd like it to be. If you can, avoid noisy areas like city centers and construction sites. Give yourself small periods of quiet time by turning off music, your phone and any other audible devices. De-stressing could be as simple as turning off the radio as you commute to work so you can focus on the silence as you drive. Take a walk in the woods or a quiet park. If you live with other people, it may be wise to invest in some noise-canceling headphones to use while you relax at home. If you are very ambitious, you can find ways to soundproof a small meditation or relaxation room with materials from your local hardware store. There are so many ways to incorporate quiet restfulness into your life.
Our lives are full of stressors, and those stressors are often agitated by noise pollution like nearby airports or constant chatter on our phones. Since scientists have linked stress to many dangerous physical and mental problems, de-stressing is incredibly important. Luckily, if you are armed with awareness and creativity, creating beneficial silence in your life is relatively easy and free.