silence is golden

I hope I don’t sound like an old grump when I say this, but I hate unnecessary noise.  As much as I love music, I don’t need to listen to it when I’m getting ready to go out.  I don’t need to flip on the television when I’m sitting down for dinner. I can sit in total silence and be fine with it. In fact, I prefer it.

A woman who sat next to me on the bus inspired me to write this post. She was fidgety at first, and then she picked up her cell phone and proceeded to make several phone calls to friends. From what I heard, the conversations were of no urgency or importance. And it got me thinking. Do we often feel the need to fill the silence? Are we really that bored with the quietness?

There’s obviously nothing wrong with making calls to friends. But I often wonder whether it’s because people are uncomfortable otherwise.  If that is the case, then I would love to invite them (or you) to perform a routine activity without the TV blaring in the background or talking on the phone (I like to put my phone on silent for a little while, so I’m not tempted to answer it if it rings). Consider it a form of meditation.Your mental health will thank you.

-jillian m.

p.s. Along the same lines, here’s a very interesting article I found about the dangers of noise, its effects on the body and how the younger generation is in most need of quiet time.

26 responses to “silence is golden”

  1. Anita says:

    I don't think you sound like and old grump at all. Often, I find myself in need of total silence and enjoy whatever I am or am not doing at the moment better because of the silence. We all need to take breaks from the noise and the rush to enjoy life more fully.

  2. Erica M. says:

    I agree.. sometimes you just need to relax and clear your mind without any distraction.

  3. Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} says:

    I couldn't agree more. I love a good song, and am known to not drive a mile without picking out a CD for it….but at home I do love the quiet and I love to take my lunch breaks outside to sit and listen to my surroundings or read. :)

  4. Meghan @ Wishful Thinking says:

    I felt myself nodding my head whilst reading this post! Totally agree with you. Luckily some London trains have a 'noise free' carriage where mobile phones and loud MP3 players are not allowed. It makes such a difference to your journey. Apart from unnecessary noise, I have zero tolerance for conflicting noise!

  5. Chelle Lynn says:

    My doctor has told me that some introverted people are actually caused physical discomfort by lots of background noise and the opposite for extroverts. I become nervous when there is too much noise, especially when I can't hear someone speak over the music, television, cars, etc. I wonder if it really is a case-by-case thing…

  6. sherri lynn says:

    I agree! I am becoming more and more comfortable with silence. I work from home so I am alone a lot of the time. I get a little tired of silence/lack of talking, but most of the time it is just nice! I think when I really learned to be okay with more quiet is when I was studying abroad in China and we weren't allowed to speak English! I really thought about everything before I said it to see if it was really worth trying to figure out how to say it in Chinese!

  7. Lisa Lisa Lisa says:

    I am going to check out the article you found. It sounds really interesting.

    Sometimes I find myself making calls, answering emails, sending texts, etc when I have downtime (like at the coffee shop or on the bus) because of the time difference between my family, friends, and myself… It is almost like I have to use that time or I miss my opportunity to get into touch with them.
    But I know what you mean. Like those people who can't wait for someone without entertaining themselves with something for the 10 minutes it takes for their friend to meet up with them. Or even worse, those friends who hang out with you.. but text, call, IM other people the entire time they are with you… I think it is related to what you are getting at in this post!

  8. Sam {fitnessfoodandfaith.blogspot.com} says:

    i 100% agree! sometimes i need to just turn off our ac/heat as well so it's completely silent. our minds definitely need that space to process and relax.

  9. kristina@beancakes ★ says:

    jillian ~ if you're a grump then i'm one too! i love quiet, of course i appreciate hustle and bustle, but there's a time and place for everything right?! i usually put commercials on mute. i actually had a friend that would watch football games on mute!
    xx ~ ks

  10. Mo Pie, Please says:

    I prefer silence often. I can understand being on a bus and needing to do something but I'm pretty sure it's just to pass the time or something. I don't know, I'm with you though. I prefer the silence (except I really do like listening to music while I get ready!)

  11. rebecca says:

    chelle lynn's comment is very interesting. sometimes i find myself cringing at a loud commercial, etc. my husband doesn't understand why I just want silence all the time. in turn, I don't understand why he always has music/tv playing.

  12. la petite coquine says:

    Some of my favorite time is the quiet in the car on the way home, or the stillness of our apartment before John comes in. That quiet is so, so sweet.

  13. jillian m. says:

    Chelle – That's a great point! As with any claim there are definitely going to be conflicting arguments. Most of the articles on silence and its health benefits don't distinguish between personality types. However, in my humble and non-doctorly opinion, I would think even the extroverts could benefit from some quiet time too! And vice versa. For me, it's about cutting out the excess and living just a bit more simply. But maybe I feel that way because I consider myself an introvert as well!

    Sherri – Wow, that's so interesting! That must have been super tough, trying to speak Chinese. I hear it's one of the toughest languages to learn.

    Rebecca – That sounds like me and Bob!

  14. colleen says:

    i agree with this. or the way people immediately are on their iphones or blackberries in the elevator. can't we just stand there sometimes? can't we just…be? very good post, got me thinking.

  15. Jaclyn says:

    I totally know what you mean. Sometimes I love when I can just be quite and not have to force a conversation. Great post.

  16. Elle Sees says:

    Times I don't like silence: I like music when I'm getting ready or long freaking drives alone. But I crave silence sometimes.

  17. Alena: Oh, It's Just Perfect! says:

    I totally agree. I love silence. It's comforting. People that talk on their cell phones in public places like on a bus or train, make me crazy!!

  18. kaity says:

    I'm kinda completely the opposite. I appreciate silence at the right time and in the right situations, but overall I need some sort of music or TV or noise or something going on in the background. it doesn't have to be loud, and I don't have to be paying attention to it, but silence tends to distract me – I start focusing on how quiet it is, and how I don't like the quiet, and then my train of thought gets completely derailed. a small amount of noise helps me focus, which COMPLETELY doesn't make sense.

  19. yours truly, melissa says:

    Great post! I like a mix of both. I rarely feel the need to turn on the TV & when I do, it's usually to watch something specific. I don't turn the TV on for background noise.

    But music… I like to have it on when I'm working at a computer or cleaning.

    As for silence, it's a good thing to be comfortable with because when you are, it's very peaceful.

  20. hellotampon says:

    I'm a hardcore introvert and I can't stand noise. My job is stressful already, but I think a lot of the stress I get from it personally is from the noise. So I come home all jacked up and if the TV is on or something I have to shut it off and just sit in silence for like an hour. I can't even talk to anybody during that time.

  21. Alexa says:

    Wow you took incredible shots. Such an incredible city.

  22. rooth says:

    I really like your snaps of New York and completely agree with you on silence. I like to wake up to silence – no radio or tv or even music

  23. Ashley says:

    I couldn't agree more!! I relish in my quiet time!!

  24. shopgirl says:

    I completely agree with you Jillian! Silence is Golden and I wish more people would realize that. Especially in this very noisy country I live in. It's very rare to find silence.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Reese
    http://rambleswithreese.etsy.com
    http://rambleswithreese.blogspot.com

  25. Pretty Affair says:

    very interesting post, thank you for sharing the article :) i find myself in need of silence time to time… it is so relaxing.
    Hope you've had a nice weekend! :)

  26. Pink Ronnie says:

    Oh jillian, how I yearn for silence….
    Ronnie xo

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