If You Think Laughter is Good Medicine Silence May Be Even Better
They say laughter is good medicine. I agree wholeheartedly, but for me, silence is some of the best medicine I can give to myself. A little self-care, if you will allow the thought. You’ve probably heard “silence is golden,” but what you may not know is that there’s more to the idiom than those three precious words. The full phrase is:
“Speech is silver, but silence is golden.”
The earliest origins of the phrase come to us by 1831, poet and historian Thomas Carlyle, who translated it from German to English in his novel Sartor Resartus. And the perspective is different when you look at the whole meaning. Talking is good, but listening is better. If you’ll allow the indulgence, silence is more than the sundae, but the sundae with the cherry on top of it. The adages come rushing back:
- It is often better to say nothing at all.
- Silence is a virtue.
- Peace and quiet are to be enjoyed.
I find that if I don’t get to enjoy peaceful moments of silence before the hustle of the day begins, I’m irritable and anxious. When you find that you’re harried and on edge, it may be because you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy silence.
If silence speaks to you in the way a bird’s song speaks on the wind, may the words of 19th-century British nurse and social activist Florence Nightingale be music to your ears:
“Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on sick or well.” — Florence Nightingale
Psychologists refer to noise as a modern plague. The same study suggests silence can relieve tension in just two minutes.
Put Silence to Work for You
Silence is hard to find for those of us with kids. For us, a few minutes before the kids wake up, or after they go to bed may be best. Others may find peace in nature, exercise, or meditation. Perhaps you can escape into an alternate reality of a good book. Silence can be used as a manipulation and a control tactic. Refusal to talk or listen can be used to get people to act the way you want them to, but it is a source of strength when used well.
“Silence is a source of great strength.” — Lao Tzu
Replenish in Quiet
Most days, sensory input is thrown at us from every angle. When you can get away from these disruptions, your brain has a chance to renew and replenish itself. Clear your mind to allow for less tension, lower blood pressure, and brain cells to regenerate. There will be room in your life for what you allow in it. Silence is still golden, and perhaps it’s equally as beneficial as laughter. Start with silence if you can, and leave room for laughter too.
“Speak only when you feel your words are better than silence.” — Anonymous