I'm writing this on my favourite spot in a nearby forest. Trying to soak up the sun, the fresh air, the autumn colours and the quiet. That last part might be a bit difficult though as it's a beautiful Sunday afternoon and there are families, older couples and dog parents everywhere. But It doesn't irritate me, it would be a lot sadder if there would be nobody here on this crisp but sunny October day.
Because even through the playful noises of kids and dogs, I can't hear the city. No cars, no sirens, no buses. Just the wind blowing through the orange and yellow leaves. The splashing of ducks in the lake and happy people enjoying their day in nature.
I wanted to talk about silence, but maybe that's not what I mean. Maybe it's the silence in yourself you can discover by listening to the sounds of nature.
There are different reasons of why silence can be good for us. First of all, you're usually surrounded by a lot of sounds. From cars to the zooming of your refrigerator. These are easily suppressed to a point that you might not even be aware that the sound exists, but suppressing costs energy. And being in silence for a while, or away from most of the sounds you usually hear, can be a welcome break.
Secondly, research shows that when you are enjoying less or no sounds, your brain goes back to "factory settings". The same mode we're in when daydreaming or meditating. Where we're most creative and thoughts run free. It's easier to make a connection with ourselves, reflect and even be kinder. A lot of us experience a constant stream of thoughts and while the lack of sounds doesn't end it, we can be less aware. Let the thoughts, the emotions, the judgements, the need to be productive flow by and just be. Like clouds in the sky, waves crashing on the beach or leaves slowly carried downstream.
Silence can also reduce our stress levels, regenerate brain cells and make us more resilient in everyday life. And it is not just the lack of sounds that can be beneficial, it's nature's music too. Bird songs, rippling water, singing ice* or just the wind. Those sounds make us feel safe, in contrast to city sounds, that alert our fight or flight responses.
So go outside, bathe in natures silence and let it press the pause button.
*Psst, if you don't know what singing ice is, check out this video!