Involving Kids in Food Preparation : Kitchen Tips

family cooking

Here are seven tips to help you get the food on the table with minimal fuss and maximum enjoyment:

  1. Assign age-appropriate tasks: You aren’t going to give your toddler the cleaver. But there are jobs in kitchen that are suited for certain age groups. Kids under 5 years old can wash produce, count, measure, and even hand mix. Older kids (8 and up) can read recipes, stir food, grate, and even chop with some extra protection and supervision. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list of tasks, separated by age, this is a great resource.
    Set up for safety and mess-minimization: Make sure everybody has their workstation set up for the tasks they can safely perform. Place the younger kids away from the heat and sharp objects. Provide aprons and have kids work over sheet pans for easy cleanup.
    Prepare some ingredients beforehand: It’s not cheating to have some ingredients ready to go into the pan—especially if they’re difficult to prepare or can make a mess. One good example: have raw chicken diced and ready to go in the pan if you’re making a stir fry.
    Serve up guidance and compliments: You don’t have to be a chef to teach cooking basics to kids. Guide kids through the tasks until they’ve mastered them. And make sure they know when they’ve done a good job. Compliments count.
    2.Don’t rush: Parenting is an exercise in patience. Cooking as a family is no different. Schedule extra time to prepare and cook the meals you make with your kids. And it’s a cliché, but the experience is actually more important than the end product.
    Eliminate distractions: To get all the benefits of cooking with kids, turn off the TV and have everybody put down their phones. This will foster more conversation and enhance the quality time you spend as a family.
    3.Have fun: You don’t need to have a food fight to enjoy your time in the kitchen. Mostly it’s about managing your expectations, leaving time to learn, laugh, and love what you’re doing. The fun you have making dinner will translate into the finished product.
    Cooking as a family doesn’t have to be daunting. Preparing properly are the keys to a successful and (relatively) stress-free experience. And remember, when you’re cooking with kids you’re not just making a meal—you’re developing skills, confidence, and habits for a lifetime.

From : Ask the Scientist

How To Make Your Kids Love Veggies

 

veggies for kids

As some of you moms have surely witnessed, kids more often eat when they’re hungry and stop eating when they’re full. In other words, children are naturally following their internal cues so parents should try not to undo this healthy intake by encouraging kids to eat past the point of fullness.

Teaching children to stay tuned into their own hunger and fullness indicators allows them to have a comfortable relationship with food and avoid overeating as they grow older.

But in this world of aggressive junk food marketing, it can prove difficult to keep kids on the path of wellness, much less convince them that a plate full of fresh, colorful vegetables can be as tasty as a bowl of sugary cereal.

This is where we parents need to get inventive. After all, the habits our children develop at a young age are the ones they’re likely to carry with them into the rest of their lives.

Reinvent the Wheel
I love encouraging kids to look at vegetables differently. One of the fastest and most creative ways to do this is by asking kids to assist you in making pizza—with veggie toppers, of course! You can even do a grain swap and use a head of cauliflower to make the base and create a veggie full pizza crust that you and your kids can then top with whatever you’d like (thinly sliced eggplant on mine, please).

Another way to get kids to view vegetables in a new light is to make pasta veggies.

in pasta

You can either spiralize a zucchini with a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler or bake a spaghetti squash and top a mound of the spaghetti-like strands with marinara sauce, meatballs, and Parmesan.

Remember to never deceive kids with these recipes. Provide full disclosure (during or after eating) that they are made with vegetables so that kids learn to appreciate their diversity and flavor while never feeling like they’re being tricked.

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Play With Your Food
We all enjoy being able to pick and choose what ingredients we want in our salads and then adding dressing and toppings as if we were at our favorite frozen yogurt shop. So why not bring that same experience home with fresh, colorful veggies chopped up and placed in serving bowls?

Add a healthy salad dressing or two (along with some nutritious toppings that are fun to sprinkle) and you’ve got a new way to make family dinnertime a lot more playful, not to mention healthy. Plus, kids often enjoy helping to set up this homemade salad bar before partaking in it.

celery boats

Kids can also use different vegetables to create fun objects like celery boats. Fill celery stalks with low-fat cream cheese and top with red pepper “sails.” They can also cut veggies into strips and other shapes and then use them to design faces or artwork on whole-wheat mini pitas topped with nut butter, light cream cheese, or ranch dressing.

Ways To Feel Happier

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Meditate
It might be an incredibly frustrating past-time to master, but the benefits make it worth sticking with. In research published in Depression and Anxiety, results showed the efficacy of meditative therapies in reducing anxiety symptoms.

Slipping into a meditative state can also light up the area of your noggin that controls complex thoughts and positive emotions. Some meditation can also build mental muscle in the brain’s other hubs for compassion, empathy and fear, allowing you greater mastery over your emotions and helping you feel closer to others. Om-en to that.

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Be altruistic
Yep, this is meant to be about you getting happier but it turns out, giving to others makes you feel great as well. Research finds that acts of kindness, especially spontaneous, out-of-the ordinary ones, can boost happiness in the person doing the good deed. Why? Among other things (like promoting the idea of “paying if forward”), being kind promotes connection and community with others, which is one of the strongest factors in increasing happiness.

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Shorten your travel time 
Ah the long drive home. Just what you need, eh? Whether in your car or on public transport, it sucks big time. Studies show that moving closer to work – 20 minutes away is ideal – is linked to greater happiness as more of your spare time is yours to enjoy. Not for the T2 lanes to swallow whole.

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Get your sweat on.
But not for too long. In the greatest study there ever was, it turns out that even 7 minutes of exercise is beneficial for mood. Thanks Gretchen Reynolds and the New York Times for this gem! And in this study on exercise, yoga and depression found that getting sweaty demonstrated therapeutic effectiveness comparable with established depression and anxiety treatments. So workout regularly not just for the waist line but just as importantly, the mind as well.

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Get outside!
You don’t have to be a serial cycler, hiker or exercise-junkie to get the benefits of this one: just getting back to nature is important for sustained happiness. In a study by the David Suzuki Foundation , it was confirmed that a daily dose of nature boosts happiness and wellbeing.

In other research, 10,000 Canadians and over 250 workplaces participated in the David Suzuki Foundation’s Nature Challenge. The national program challenged participants to commit to getting out into nature for 30 minutes a day for 30 consecutive days. The results? “We found that participants almost doubled their time spent outside during the month and reduced their screen time by about 4.5 hours per week,” said Trent University Researcher, Dr Elizabeth Nisbet. “They reported significant increases in their sense of well-being, feeling more vitality and energy, while feelings of stress, negativity, and sleep disturbances were all reduced.”

more-sleep

Get more sleep
Constantly yawning from lack of sleep? There’s a load of research to support the theory that lack of sleep hampers your happiness. As noted by the Woolcock Institute, insomnia symptoms extend into the daytime, affecting mood, concentration, memory and work performance. If that’s not enough to make you glum, we don’t know what is. Get at least 6 hours of sleep a night, and if you’re having reaching this modest number, consult your GP.

 

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Source

 

Learning Yoga on Your Own: Best Tips for Success

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Few things in modern times have been culturally appropriated as quickly and completely as yoga. What was once a relatively obscure Hindu spiritual practice in east Asia has become a mainstream form of exercise for overworked city dwellers everywhere.

It’s easy to scoff at the widespread popularity of yoga in the western world, but the truth is that millions of people are drawn to yoga because it offers them something that is missing from their daily lives: inner calmness, total body awareness and the ability to exist in the present moment. In other words, yoga can restore to your life what a chronically over-scheduled, cell phone-addicted existence has been destroying for years.

If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or exhausted with the pace of your life, yoga can slow you down. You might be astounded at the difference that intentional mindfulness can make in the quality of your daily routines, even if they stay just as hectic.

What is yoga?

Yoga is an extensive collection of Hindu spiritual practices that are focused on melding together the mind, body and spirit into feelings of connection with the rest of the universe. The word yoga means ‘union‘ and is used to describe the melding together of the consciousness of the individual with the consciousness of the universe. Western yoga typically draws inspiration from Hatha Yoga, a yoga path that emphasizes physicality.

Despite the physical element of mainstream yoga, it’s wrong to think of the practice as an exercise; rather, it is a philosophy focused on returning our bodies to a state of balance and health. Though the mind can be deceptive and trick you into believing lies about itself, your body can only present itself to you exactly as it is. For this reason, fundamental yoga begins by fostering a deeper connection with the body.

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A brief history of yoga

The philosophy of yoga began over 15,000 years ago and the modern interpretations have been credited to the Indian sage Patanjali who lived two thousand years ago and created the philosophical guidebook ‘Yoga Sutra‘ from a collection of 196 yogic poses and chants. This guidebook is the foundation for most of yoga that is practiced today.

Today, yogic scriptures contain over 84,000 poses and variations, making the field of yoga so large that even experts always have something new to try.

The health benefits of yoga

In recent years, studies have found that the benefits of yoga go farther than simply connecting you with yourself. Yoga is a fantastic way to improve your strength, flexibility, balance and aerobic fitness, all without using anything more than your body and a mat.

There are plenty of physical benefits of yoga that make it a smart way for you to exercise your body.

Stress relief

Yoga allows you to live fully in the moment, which can provide enormous relief if you are stressed about things that are beyond your control. Intensely focusing on your breathing can help you to detach yourself from concerns that aren’t grounded in reality and instead allow you to live in the present.

Strength and stamina
It’s wrong to think that yoga practitioners don’t get a strength workout, they just lift their bodies instead of weights! Yoga poses rely on leveraging your own body weight around, meaning that your core and shoulder muscles will be activated and get a great workout. For many people, yoga can be just as effective for gaining muscle mass as traditional strength training.

Flexibility
The essence of the physical side of yoga is stretching your body into different poses that are always just beyond what is comfortable. Over time, this improves flexibility and strengthens your muscular-skeletal system.

Better body alignment
Practicing yoga regularly can lead to improvements for anyone suffering from insomnia, back problems, digestive problems, or wanting to lose weight.

Getting started at home: What you need to know
One of the best little-known secrets about yoga is that you don’t need to live close to fancy studios to get involved. A home yoga practice gives you plenty of health benefits, and cultivating your own routines allows you to fit your yoga into your schedule, rather than changing your life to comply with a pre-set class time. Even if you can only spare ten minutes in your day, that’s enough time to start a meaningful yoga practice from home that will make you feel more empowered and centered.

Remember, anything that’s worth doing takes practice, patience and a strong level of commitment. Practicing yoga by yourself means that you don’t have the accountability of a class to keep you motivated, so your resolve to get on the mat everyday will need to come from within yourself instead.

The tools you need
You don’t need much equipment besides your body and your breath to practice yoga, but a few key supplies can make your practice easier.
Yoga mat: mats are an essential tool for yoga, and a proper mat will give you good grip while also defining the space for your practice.
Straps: Especially helpful for beginners, straps can help you reach the parts of your body you aren’t flexible enough to access otherwise.
Blankets and blocks: these props help with flexibility when you can’t properly complete a pose. They can be used for elevating the hips or creating the space to do extensions when your hands can’t reach the floor.
Yoga balls: Though not often used, some yoga practices require balls to help with stability, balance and strength.

Best tips for success

The best online yoga program won’t do you any good if you can’t get yourself to stick with the program. Getting into a long-lasting yoga habit can be hard, but if you follow these steps you are likely to succeed.

Figure out the timing that works for you: Both our bodies and our minds need to commit to a routine to make it stick, so try to maintain a specific yoga practice time everyday. After you’ve gotten in the habit of a daily practice, both your mind and body will crave your practice at this time.

Make your practice space sacred: Have a spot in your house that is perfectly set up for yoga. It can be a corner of your bedroom or an empty hallway, but make it feel like YOUR space so that you stay eager to return to it.

Start in silence: Even if you don’t intend to meditate, take some time before the start of your routine to commit an intention for what you want to accomplish. This both helps to center you on your primary feelings and gets you prepared to have a high quality practice.
Practice on an empty stomach: Yoga involves lots of stretching, which can be uncomfortable when you’ve just eaten a big meal. To keep things feeling good, make sure your last time you ate was at least two hours before your practice.

In Summary

Yoga is a powerful practice to incorporate into your daily life, and you don’t have to go to a fancy studio to start experiencing the benefits. By cultivating a home yoga practice through online instruction, you can teach both your body and mind to be more present and to live a more joyful, engaged life.

If you’ve got an internet connection and a few feet of floor space, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by committing to your own personal yoga routine.

SOURCE

Why Do We Love Food

why-we-love-food

New research on the biological, social, and cultural forces that shape our appetites can shed some light on food addiction, eating disorders and your strange midnight cravings

Life’s sweetest memories and toughest struggles often revolve around what goes into our mouths.
Perhaps that’s why our relationships with food can be as tumultuous as any romantic entanglement. But new research on the biological, social and cultural forces that shape our appetites could help us find harmony – at last.

There was the one you took to bed, even though you knew you’d regret it the next morning and the one you didn’t want any of your friends to know about. And – of course – the one you knew was good for you but just didn’t turn you on.

If only we were talking about men – not tubs of ice-cream, chicken wings and steamed spinach. Compared with food, romantic partners are relatively simple. Yes, they sometimes cause you to cry, swear, or toss a few shirts out onto the footpath, but you can always walk away from those relationships. You and food, on the other hand, are stuck together for life.

Even if you consider yourself “normal” when it comes to what you choose to eat, your relationship with food is probably more complicated than you realise. It might be the most complex relationship in your life, which explains why a recent poll of more than 6000 Women’s Health* readers found that nearly 30 per cent of women feel stressed about food – every single day.

Sometimes that angst can manifest in extreme ways: according to SANE Australia, approximately two per cent of Australians will be diagnosed with an eating disorder at some point in their lives (90 per cent will be women), and 27 per cent are obese, according to Roy Morgan market research. But even among those of us whose approach to food isn’t physically unhealthy, you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who is totally free of food issues.

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For many, it’s guilt about overeating or caving in to cravings for things we know aren’t good for us. In other cases, it’s more of a quirk – such as avoiding foods with a certain texture or colour, or shuddering if our vegetables and meat touch. For most of us, it’s the fact that food is much more than the simple fuel our ancestors considered it to be. A piece of chocolate might be a sin, a reward or a comfort. Or all three. Is it any wonder that a balanced, unremorseful attitude towards food is practically extinct?

In her book Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path To Almost Everything, author Geneen Roth describes how the way women eat is inseparable from the way they feel about themselves. “No matter how sophisticated or wise or enlightened you believe you are, how you eat tells all. The world is on your plate. When you begin to understand what prompts you to use food as a way to numb or distract yourself, the process takes you to the bright centre of your own life.”

So why do we love food one minute and hate it the next? Many reasons: physiology, genetics, family, cultural baggage… But the relationship each of us has with the stuff we put in our mouths doesn’t have to be so turbulent. Once we have a clearer picture of what precisely shapes our eating behaviour, we can start enjoying our food a whole lot more.

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Tip of your tongue

Tastebuds may not rank on your list of the most important body parts, but they could be partly responsible for your cave-dwelling ancestors’ surviving to fight another mammoth. Scientists have long hypothesised that because toxic foods often taste bitter, the ability to distinguish flavours is an evolutionary advantage.

If you have a sweet tooth, you can chalk that up to your genes, too, because your taste preferences are coded in your DNA. A study published in Physiology & Behavior found that as much as 45 per cent of our food preferences are determined by genetics. Among the things controlled by biology is the number of tastebuds you have, and that – in combination with genes for what you taste – can determine whether you’re extra sensitive to most foods and therefore more inclined to be picky about what you eat.

We may not be wired to like bitter flavours, but we can learn to enjoy them with repeated exposure (think back to the first time you drank coffee… or beer). And this process often starts early, even in utero. A study at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in the US found that when women drank carrot juice during pregnancy, their babies were willing to eat more baby cereal mixed with carrot juice than were the babies of mothers who didn’t drink the juice – and they presumably enjoyed it more too, since they grimaced less during their feedings.

But while a large part of what we like to eat is driven by simple biology, even more isn’t – 55 per cent, according to the Physiology & Behavior study. Some of it is learned: a baby may grab whatever is on her parents’ plates, picking up their food preferences in the same way she picks up their language. We also adopt our folks’ attitudes about food. Dr Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating and founder of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, US, recalls a colleague who grew up hearing from her mum that it’s “low-class” to eat lollies between meals. Because her mother stigmatised the practice, the woman never indulged in it herself.

Our earliest associations about food – the ones we can end up retaining for life – are formed during childhood. So if you couldn’t watch TV unless you ate your broccoli, eating it might feel like a chore now. Jessica Philips, 28, recalls how as a child she wasn’t allowed to leave the table until her plate was clean. “I grew up with images of poverty in Africa and starving children on TV,” she says. “It was ingrained in me to not allow any food wastage. So even though I’m full, I’ll carry on eating because I can’t bear to throw anything away. My husband jokes that we should get a dog to feed scraps to.”

On the flip side, the foods we find most comforting are the ones we associate with positive emotions. A woman in one of Dr Wansink’s studies loved to munch on popcorn mixed with M&M’s because it made her feel domestic, cosy, and safe – the emotions she felt as she prepared this same snack with her university boyfriend, the man she eventually married. “Even if the memories are vague,” says Dr Wansink, “the feelings they evoke pull you to these foods when you want to boost your mood or sustain a happy feeling.”

group-eating

Our food, ourselves
The way we think about food becomes as much about what it symbolises as it is about memories, associations and even taste. In the same way you might wear a Rabbitohs jersey to show your loyalty to the team, you may hang on to a fondness for a certain food that connects you to your childhood or ethnic background.

“Food is part of every rite of passage,” says psychologist Dr Kima Cargill.

“It’s a way to connect to one’s ancestors and tell a story or a family or cultural narrative or to manage bereavement,” she says. In other words, food can be who you are, what you want to remember, what you hope for and what you’ve lost – in addition to what you’re putting into your body. With a relationship that intimate, how could we not get emotional about it?
Cultural and social expectations often shape the way we feel about how, or how much, we eat. Priya Ramachandran, 36, grew up in India, where her family considered it uncouth to let food touch anything but the tips of your fingers. “If I have to eat a huge slice of pizza or a long sub, some amount of palm touching is inevitable,” she says. “Inside, I’m cringing.” When she can, she cuts larger slices of pizza in half, and she won’t go anywhere near a hamburger.

In the Western world, where thinness is prized, it’s common for women to down a hefty dose of guilt along with any food they order – especially dessert, says Dr Elizabeth Lombardo, author of A Happy You. It comes down to a feeling of control, she says. If we eat dessert, we may think we have no self-restraint. We’re weak. Dessert wins.
Jane Hedman, 30, knows this battle all too well. “Every time a colleague has a birthday, I have a half hour internal monologue about whether I’m going to skip lunch in favour of a piece of cake.
My workmate, on the other hand, never skips lunch. He just eats the damn cake.”

Re-friending food
You can’t alter your DNA, change your cultural background or turn back the clock and make your pregnant mother scull vegetable juice. But now that you understand how these and other factors influence the way you eat and the way you feel about eating, you can work towards making each new experience with food a pleasurable one. It’s a matter of giving yourself permission to enjoy what’s on your plate instead of fretting over whether you’re not eating the right thing, the right amount or the right way, says Dr Lombardo. Here, some other tips to help you savour more and stress less:

FOCUS ON YOUR FOOD You may not have time to enjoy every bite of every meal, but turning off the TV and sitting at a table will help you take more pleasure in what you’re eating.

BUT DON’T BE HYPERVIGILANT “Being too aware of what and how much you eat can turn you into a food obsessive,” says Dr Wansink. “Not to mention that having a mindset of ‘If I walk two kilometres, I can eat this many chips’ is a terrible way to live.”

STOP TELLING YOURSELF NO
Deprivation will just set you up for failure. “It’s a whole lot more liberating to say to yourself ‘I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, as long as I know how much I actually want’,” says Dr Wansink. We like the way this man thinks.

LISTEN TO YOUR GUT FEELING
If you feel like steak, go ahead and order it, even if everyone else at your table is having salad. Don’t take on other people’s emotional static. “Repeat this mantra,” advises Dr Lombardo: “I choose to enjoy this food.” See, at the end of the day, each of us has to decide for ourselves if we want food to be our enemy or a dear (and delicious) friend.

 

Making Medical Devices Safer at Home

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Patients and consumers are using medical devices more often at home—not just in health care facilities. Many medical devices are now portable, and this feature enables patients to live active lives outside of the confines of the hospital room or treatment center.
“(Home use) devices once were designed only to keep you alive. Now they’re designed to keep you as independent as possible,” according to Mary Brady, MSN, RN, a senior policy analyst at FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long been concerned that consumers may sometimes be literally left to their own devices—depending upon medical devices they might not know how to operate and for which they might not understand the safety risks.

There have been serious, and even fatal, problems reported to FDA associated with medical devices used at home. For example, a woman with kidney failure got cat hair in her dialysis tubing, resulting in peritonitis, a life-threatening abdominal infection. And a child died when his mother didn’t hear an alarm on his ventilator signaling that the tubing had become disconnected.

FDA is working on ways to help consumers safely operate and maintain home use devices, which include blood glucose monitors, infusion pumps (a device that delivers fluids, including nutrients and medications, into a patient’s body) and respirators. These efforts include issuing a draft guidance document for manufacturers on the design and testing of devices intended for home use, and the development of clearer instructions for use.

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Understanding the Instructions

Using a medical device at home is not as simple as it might sound. Brady explains that the device might not come with the written instructions that inform a home user how to operate it safely and how to know if it’s not working properly. Even if the device comes with instructions, the language used in the instructions might be too technical.
“If you can’t understand the directions,” said Brady, “it’s hard to be independent.”

While more medical devices are being specifically designed for home use, some devices used at home weren’t originally designed for use by the average person. “Devices are often designed for the health care professional to use in a clinical setting such as a medical office or a hospital,” says Brady.

Also, home use devices designed to be used in medical facilities—not homes—might be adversely affected by things found in a home environment, such as pet hair, well water or temperature variations.

Other challenges include the user’s and the caregiver’s physical and emotional health. People taking medications that affect their alertness or memory might have trouble using or taking care of their devices. Similarly, the emotional impact of caring for a loved one might influence the caregiver’s ability to use complex, high-maintenance devices.

Tips for Consumers

  • Know how your device works; keep instructions close by.
  • Understand and properly respond to device alarms.
  • Have a back-up plan and supplies in the event of an emergency.
  • Keep emergency numbers available and update them as needed.
  • Educate your family and caregivers about your device.
  • Frequently ask your doctor and home health care team to review your condition and recommend any changes related to your equipment.

Source :fda.gov

 

 

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains

 

Silence picture

In 2011, the Finish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sort to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media  said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.
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A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice. The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus.

The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

“We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”
In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.”

When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

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.

As Herman Melville once wrote, “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

Silence relieves stress and tension.

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It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech.

“This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.

silence not empty
Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.

Credit: Life hacks