Our nervous systems are constantly entraining to the stimuli in our environments. One of the most powerful stimuli is also one of the most overlooked: sound.
You can close your eyes but you can’t close your ears. Our hearing never turns off, not even when we are asleep. This can keep us safe — a loud noise in the middle of the night can alert you to danger and get you out of bed so you can find a place of safety.
And this feature also comes at a price, especially in our noisy world.
We are constantly exposed to sounds, many of which we have no control over.
Sirens. Clanging pipes. Settling walls. Creaking floors. Cars driving by.
The footsteps of the neighbors upstairs.
The television from the apartment next door. The couple down the hall having an argument.
Lawn mowers. Snow blowers.
Steel shovels scraping driveways.
The television on in the background.
Even the white noise machine you use to drown it all out.
All of these sounds create vibrations that enter the body. They often produce a hidden anxiety as we entrain to them.
Creating periods of silence is crucial to allowing our brains to rest.