‘Thinking matters’, draws on stories from Annette Jahnel's, nine nomadic years, during which she road tripped the planet solo. She shares mental lessons learnt, combines them with the latest findings of neuroscience.
There are no humans more powerful than those that govern their own minds.
Through our driving need for more time, we light up the night, and unwittingly lose things that nourish our inner core. When we look up at the stars, we sense a deep connection to the universe; when we sink into our silence, we experience a deep connection to ourselves. When we lose them, we deprive ourselves of the fuel we need to be fully alive.
In 1859, the British nurse and social reformer Florence Nightingale wrote, “Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on sick or well.” Every careless clatter or banal bit of banter, Nightingale argued, can be a source of alarm, distress, and loss of sleep for recovering patients.
Recent research supports some of Nightingale’s claims. In the mid 20th century, epidemiologists discovered correlations between high blood pressure and chronic noise sources like highways and airports.
The body reacts immediately and powerfully to sound signals, even in the middle of deep sleep. The activation prompts an immediate release of stress hormones like cortisol. People who live in consistently loud environments often experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.
In 1997, a team of neuroscientists at Washington University was collecting brain scan data from test subjects during various mental tasks, like arithmetic and word games. One of the scientists, Gordon Shulman, noticed the background brain activity was most visible when the test subject was in a quiet room, doing absolutely nothing.
For decades, scientists had known that the brain’s “background” activity consumed the lion’s share of its energy. Difficult tasks like pattern recognition or arithmetic, only increased the brain’s energy consumption by a few percent. This suggested that by ignoring the background activity, neurologists might be overlooking something crucial. “When you do that,” neuroscientist Marcus Raichle explains, “most of the brain’s activities end up on the cutting room floor.”
As science is discovering how beneficial the absence of noise is to optimum brain function, the amount of noise we produce is reaching epidemic proportions.
A study that was published in 2002 examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.
Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body.
In 2013 a Duke University regenerative biologist, Imke Kirste was examining the effects of sounds. Her experiment, Kirste found that two hours of silence per day prompted cell development in the hippocampus.
1. Silence relieves stress and tension.
2. Silence replenishes our mental resources.
3. In silence, we can tap into the brain’s default mode network.
4. Silence can grow the brain by regenerating brain cells.
This one of the aims of brain training and mindfulness practices. By learning to control your brain, you will grow to love your silence, and use it as a vital tool whenever you need to replenish your energy and calm.
If you would like to start training your brain you can contact via my website. www.essentialknowledge.co
This program drew heavily from the following articles.