So what do we know about silence? What does silence really do with our body and mind?


We all heard that it can be good for us, but why? 

Finding our inner calm and peace can be difficult in a world full of noisy distractions. Being in silence allows us to take the time and make space to hear our own thoughts, gain clarity and understanding, and deepen our relationships with ourselves and others. We can also carry the benefits of silent retreats into our everyday lives. What we practice at the mat, will not only help us in that exact moment, it will also be useful going forward.  When we practice solitude and silence, we disconnect our autopilot and allow our brain to process emotions rather than suppressing them.

My experience is

I just finished a 5 day silent retreat. Since many years back I go on at least one silent retreat yearly. Because I need it. I need it to become my best version of myself. It happens a lot to me during silence. It feels like a cleaning process, like every cell in my body is reborn, and the energy comes back (usually i am very very tired the first 1-3 days of silence and then the energy slowly refills my body).

Silence is not always easy: it gives you what you need. Sometimes there is something hiding that we need to take care of, sometimes it is just to find peace and rest or something else. Usually we try to enter the silence without any expectations. We also practice to welcome everything that comes up regardless if it is positive, negative or neutral.

Silence plays an important role in most Eastern and Western meditative and mindfulness practices.

What do research say?

Lots of research is done on silence, studies confirm that, especially in our loud world, time spent in silence can bring numerous health benefits.

When we cut ourselves off from social chatter and the endless flow of notifications coming from our phones and computers, we are given the opportunity to redirect our attention inwards. We can notice our thoughts and process them in a constructive way.

“Monkey mind” is a metaphor for the mind’s natural tendency to be restless— jumping from one thought or feeling to another, as a monkey swings from limb to limb. From the classical Buddhist Abhidharma perspective, stability and stillness of mind provide freedom from destructive types of emotion and cognition. Another metaphor is commonly used to describe how the foundation of mindfulness may contribute to the benefits of a still mind, focusing on cultivating attentional stability and reduced unintentional mind wandering: If a stone is tossed into a still lake, the ripples are clearly visible. Yet, when that lake is unsettled, a single stone’s effect is barely noticeable (Miller KL. Effortless Mindfulness. New York, NY: Routledge; 2014).

Spontaneous mind wandering is typically associated with self-reflective states that contribute to negative processing of the past, worrying/fantasizing about the future, and disruption of primary task performance. On the other hand, mindful awareness is frequently described as a focus on present sensory input without cognitive elaboration or emotional reactivity, and is associated with improved task performance and decreased stress-related symptomology (Vago, D, Zeidan, F. The brain on silent: mind wandering, mindful awareness, and states of mental tranquility; 2014).

One meta analysis showed that meditation retreats has large effects on levels of anxiety, depression and stress, and moderate effects on emotional regulation and quality of life. Results also showed large effects on measures of mindfulness and compassion, and moderate effects on measures of acceptance (Knäuper, B., Schlosser, M., Carriére, K., Chiesa, A., Effectiveness of traditional meditation retreats: A systematic review and meta-analysis; 2017).

Researchers found that silence helps new cells to differentiate into neurons, and that when we experience silence, our brains are able to work at better understanding our internal and external environments. We can make sense of our lives and gain perspective, something that is vital for our overall wellbeing.

While noise creates stress, silence relieves stress and tension in the brain and body. Silence is replenishing and nourishes our cognitive resources.

The ancient spiritual masters have known this all along; silence heals, silence takes us deeply into ourselves, and silence balances the body and mind. Now science is saying the same thing. When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world. The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way. 

How does Silence affect  our bodies?

  • Releases tension and reduce stress hormones.
  • Reduces insomnia.
  • Lower the blood pressure.
  • Develops new brain cells, affect areas in the brain that regulates memory, emotions and learning.
  • Improves focus, concentration and creativity.
  • Subconscious processing of information.
  • Helps us to be more mindfull, and take us to the present moment.

Are you curious about silence?

A silent retreat is an invitation that encourages us to pause, to embrace the silence as we journey inwards with a beginner’s mind. You can also practice silence in your everyday life by giving yourself some silent minutes every day. If you want to know more about our silent retreats, please check out our webpage:

“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear”-Rumi