University recently conducted a study to determine the
impact of noise on employees in an open area office space
where people are constantly exposed to fax machines,
telephones, office chatter, shredding machines, etc. Test
results revealed that workers in an open area had high
levels of adrenalin in their urine. Adrenalin is released by
the body when under stress. It prepares us for fight or
flight. When these employees were compared to those in self
contained office spaces the results were startling. People
in a quiet, self contained work area did not have the same
high levels of adrenalin in their urine. They were much more
relaxed and less stressed.
puzzle, demanding attention and concentration, was given to
both groups of employees. The open area group was found to
be less diligent in the solution of the puzzle becoming
easily frustrated and giving up much earlier than the group
from the quiet office. The study also found that workers
from the quiet office slept better at night, had better
digestion, were much less irritable at home and felt better
at the end of their workday than employees from the open
concept office. Noise does seem to affect focus,
productivity and general physical and psychological well
being. Noise tends to increase stress levels which in turn
can result in increased frustration and anger and strained
interpersonal relationships. We must begin to establish a
friendship with silence.
to Make a Friend of Silence
we have very little control over noise in the environment at
large, we do have control over our own private environment.
This is where we begin to cultivate a friendship with
Make a conscious commitment to the experience and
appreciation of silence.
for a walk in nature. Let the silence soothe your spirit.
When you are alone in your residence turn off all noise
making appliances. Begin with fifteen minutes of silence and
gradually increase the duration.
Learn how to meditate and schedule a ten minute meditation
period once or twice a day. Gradually extend your meditation
When driving to work turn off your car radio and drive in
camping for a night by yourself. Find a quiet campground
where they don't allow people to blast their music without
consideration for others. I usually go solo camping for one
week each year to be alone and silent in the outdoors.
has become something I eagerly look forward to.
Drive to a lake at sunset and rent a canoe. Paddle slowly
along the shoreline observing the silent sights and the
gentle sounds of nature as the sun sets and darkness
silence listen to your breathing. Get a sense of the silent
rhythm of life.
Just before retiring go outside and look up at the night
sky. You will soon sense another universal rhythm so
unfamiliar to many. Let the night sky and the darkness
embrace you and calm you as you prepare for a night's rest.
When you read a book, do so in silence. Many of us read to
music or during television commercials. Try silence.
grow to love it.
you will begin to cherish the periods of silence you have
built into your day and long for more. You will quickly
discover that you are becoming more relaxed and less tense
even in the midst of our noisy world. You will have made an
invaluable new friend of silence, a friend which can
comfort, heal and soothe your spirit. What a gift you will
have given yourself.
still and know the restorative power of silence.
Moore is an international speaker and writer on human
potential, motivation and humour.