The Science of Silence | Wednesday Checkup
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The Science of Silence | Wednesday Checkup


– Hey guys, welcome to this
week’s Wednesday Checkup. Is this making you uncomfortable? Let’s talk about it, peewoop. (upbeat music) If your brain experiences
a sudden onset of silence, it triggers the auditory cortex, the part of your brain
that translates sound, just as much as if you heard
a really abrupt loud sound. So if you got a little uncomfortable during that last section,
you’re not alone. Especially in the current
era in which we live, where notifications,
Netflix, Podcast, YouTube, traffic noise is all around us, a moment of silence
can be quite unnerving. Actually the reason
why I wanted to discuss both silence and noise on
today’s Wednesday check up, is because two weeks ago I was
invited to speak on a panel at South by Southwest. Shout out Austin, Texas. And discuss how noise can adversely or negatively impact your health, on side note what’s pretty crazy is I had to follow Mark
Cuban’s presentation, and I’m a huge Shark Tank fan. So meeting him in the
green room was crazy. Traditionally when you meet people that are either celebrities
or billionaires, they travel in packs of five, ten, make up artists, managers whatever. He was by himself, he was in
a t-shirt when he found out that one of the young girls
in the room was a fan, he invited her over, told
her Shark Tank stories, super nice guy, Mark Cuban you’re the man. Alright sorry back to silence, I think the first thing
that needs to be said here is that in this current day
and age that we live in, despite the fact that
we’re hyper connected, I mean everyone has a phone,
everyone has social media, anyone can message pretty much
anyone anywhere in the world and yet we’re still all
really disconnected. And I think silence or the lack of silence plays a role there. Let me explain what I mean. Most people will
incorrectly define silence, as a passive state with a lack of sound. I don’t think that’s what it is. I think silence is an active
state where you’re interacting with both yourself and your environment. When you have some time away from noise, away from distractions,
away from notifications, you’re truly able to focus, on what you’ve accomplished today, what mistakes have you made
today, where you can do better. In talking to a lot of my patients and discussing the topic of silence, what I’ve come to realize is that, a lot of discomfort
that stems from silence, is usually from the idea, that people don’t like to be
left alone with their thoughts. That they have a lot of
anxieties that start to seep in. Their insecurities start
showing to their own minds. But when they’re constantly
feeding their minds with dopamine hits and doing
things and staying active, they’re distracting themselves. So when you have a moment of silence, it suddenly brings all these
things to your attention, and it can be quite distressing. I don’t think that’s reason
enough to ignore silence. I think that should be
even more of a reason, that you should seek some
silence throughout the day, for a moment of self reflection. And when I say self reflection,
it doesn’t mean meditating with your fingers touching
and your knees crossed, just means having a moment of
silence away from the kids, away from the families,
away from the cellphones, away from the traffic noise, where you can just sit and
be a human for a second. Many people tell me that, I
do the same thing Doctor Mike and I listen to relaxing music. Actually a study published
in the Journal Heart, found that music had an arousal
effect on the human body. The heart rate, breathing
pattern, blood pressure and then when you turned off the music, and went into full silence,
all those factors dropped, meaning that the person
relaxed, even below baseline before the music was even present. We all need that. So many of my patients
come in with hypertension. If I can just prescribe
them a moment of silence in order to lower it, I think that sounds a lot better than facing the adverse
reactions of some medications. I don’t want you to think that
I’m saying silence is better than all other sounds
and music and all that, it’s not what I’m saying. As with everything in
nature, in our bodies, there requires a balance. Relaxing music can trigger
a calming period of arousal. Upbeat music can prepare
us for a challenge and get us excited to meet new goals. When we have silence, it allows us time for
reflection and growth. Balancing all of these
things is extremely important in our everyday life. And when you swing in
one direction too far, you’re gonna have a problem. A study done in 2013 on
silence received a lot of buzz and publicity because it showed that mice, who experience two hours
of silence per day, actually had a growth of
nerve cells within the portion of the brain that’s
responsible for memory. Now people got very excited about this because of the prevalence of conditions like Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and they started to postulate that perhaps silence at one point can be a treatment for these conditions. And maybe that can be the case, but this is a preliminary study. And the biggest caveat here
is that this was done on mice. We’ve cured cancer and other
diseases in mice before. And that success doesn’t
always translate to humans. We’ve talked about silence
but lets pivot to noise. It’s been long documented
that a prolonged exposure to loud noises is not good for our health. Talking about hearing
loss, heart health issues, stress levels, lack of
creativity and productivity. And as a holistic physician, I
truly see the negative impact a loud environment has on my patients. For example, there’s been a
study done, that looked at folks who lived near loud environments, train tracks, airports, et cetera. And what they found is that
they have higher levels of cortisone, the stress hormone that gets released when your sympathetic nervous system kicks in. That’s that fight or
flight response you get, when you see a lion or
bear, think about that. Loud noises can stress you
out just like a lion or bear. Another study done by Cornell university, found that those who work in
noisy office environments, were less likely to be productive and more likely to be
cognitively impaired. This is why I’m not a huge fan
of open office environments. You need your private space. You need that silence. As the wise Ari Gold would say, – “Silence Lloyd, it’s golden.” – We talked noise, we talked silence, now lets talk mail time. Before we start, I wanna give
a personal and huge thank you to my man Phillip De Franco,
for giving us not one, but two shout outs in his YouTube videos, I grew up watching him, he is a YouTuber that I really admire. Actually this is really embarrassing, I’m gonna show this to you live on camera. This was my very first attempt at YouTube, I tried to be Phillip De Franco here. A new article from German a
respected medical journal, put into question if working
solely on the weekends is as equally as beneficial as working out throughout the week. It is common knowledge that exercises… It’s so bad I can’t watch it. But Phillip thank you for
inspiring me to educate young folks all across the world, and to make some content
that is meaningful, and honestly have some fun, cause this is a pretty fun process and I’m blessed to be able to do this. All right lets open up some package. Okay, I don’t know. Why, is life hard? This shirt smells like vinegar,
and it says don’t stop now. Live, survive thrive and
stay happy and healthy. What, someone sent a present
for Bear, it’s a little gator. I think it’s awesome that you
aspire to be a therapy dog. Oh my God no way. Hi my name is Kelly, and I’m a huge fan of
your YouTube channel. My friends and I saw
you have a Roxy pillow and we decided to get
you a Bear one to match. Visiting your Facebook page occasionally, I see that you like being
a man of style, a top hat? What’s up, how you doing? How you doing? Cheers to you good lady. No, legit, no legit if
these fit right now, I’m gonna be grateful cause this.. I’ve been wanting gloves
like this for a while. Yo, Sherry Williams, I can dig these and if you don’t think
I look good in this hat, probably neither do I but I
still appreciate the gesture. (upbeat music)

About Bill McCormick

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100 thoughts on “The Science of Silence | Wednesday Checkup

  1. Since I'm an introvert I carve silence and try to get as much as I can. As for open offices not being good for anyone in any form aside from them being cheeper to maintain… yeah, anyone who ever had to work in one knows. Usually though, it's the people who have their own single office with the power to change heating or air condition to their liking are the ones who think those open offices are a great idea and make for better collaborations between coworkers (spoiler, they don't).
    Seriously, that is the reason management gave to us for our big open offices. But time and again in every yearly survey, the things most complained about are the noise and the temperature in those offices and by now, I'd say about a third of our employees use noise cancelling headphones.

  2. I live in an apartment… how can I achieve a comfortable silence without breaking any apartment rules? Because there's noises that I can't escape from (people coming and going, speech, dogs, cars nearby on the street), and I'd like to be able to do this.

  3. Ok doc I like the idea of silence of course..but the thing is I try it a lot that it's a habit, yet most of the times I get sleepy and sometimes I fall asleep 😴 ..does that indicate that I'm sleep deprived or something!?

  4. I have a few interesting points to bring up, as a music therapist!

    1.) I think silence is crucial to our mental health! Like you said, many people get anxious when there's silence, which is essentially a manifestation of how they're truly feeling. It looks like even the most "social butterfly" has social anxiety. Maybe the social butterfly and the social outcast aren't as different as we think.
    2.) I would need to do more digging on that Heart-published study to see what types of music they used for the study. There is music out there specifically designed to lower heart rate, BP, etc. None of that music is in the Billboard Top 40, nor is it stuff like Enya. There's plenty of research that music therapists have done on this topic!
    3.) Even still, music designed for this is in some way an escape from our thoughts. The next step is to connect the two. Using silence is a great way to self-reflect, but being able to use music as the expression that helps us self-reflect: priceless.
    4.) That study on loud noises being linked with cortisol actually sounds pretty reminiscent of the condition Misophonia (feeling a fight-or-flight response to certain sounds). I think most typical "annoying" sounds will bother most people, but folks with Misophonia experience it with more sounds, with specific sounds related to experiences, and just overall more intensely. That seems to indicate that Misophonia is experienced on a spectrum. Interesting stuff.
    5.) Nice hat.

  5. See I love silence, but my family is louder than an army of trains, and Im not allowed to go out alone, so I need to buy ear plugs. Il buy some eventually whenever i finally have money for them

  6. Doc I didn’t get uncomfortable I like looking into your eyes
    Lol I’m just playin though…
    But seriously 👀

  7. Oh wow ok when he started listing all the reasons why loud environments are bad I was like “so that’s why I can’t hear for shit”

  8. Why are you so sweaty I can see the sweat in your arm pits lol just chill relax and just talk normally like to friends

  9. Yes! My last job was at a open office, which put me into extreme stress and every night I felt exhausted without any reasons. Good thing I quit after four months, and proved that I've made the best choice by far.

  10. 0:20 Is this why when you fall asleep to a consistantly loud sound, you can wake up when it suddenly stops?

  11. Lack of silence makes me anxious. I try to keep myself distracted . But after what you said , may be I will try not to be distracted
    Thanks for this video .

  12. That Bear pillow was awesome. You look good in the hat and those gloves! Cute toy for Bear! I liked that shirt.

  13. I'm on the Autism Spectrum. When my body needs silence, I automatically just shut out the world and stare into space for a few minutes.

  14. actually, when listening to binaural beats i get calmer than i could ever get. because anxiety and stuff. i can never find actual silence either because i hear literally just about everything.

    but ofcourse this is different for everyone.

  15. Yeah when i’m running i’m in silence. and then i start thinking about weird things 😂 but it’s good to get away and reflect as he says.

  16. haha, Silence is what saves me from day to day. I just got a phone again because I really dont't enjoy the bings and boops. I had a home phone for a while xD

  17. I dont want to stay in silence. I get panic attacks when I'm alone, in silence. Silence scares me and gives me anxiety and unnecessary fear. I found out that (in a way I regret) silence does me more harm than any good.

  18. Now that you mention it when I just wake up in the morning and it’s completely quiet I find my imagination To be “active” now I know that doesn’t really have to do reflecting but I still thought it was a pretty cool thing

  19. I still can't process that he's in his mid 20s and have a successful career as a M.D./Dr., Has his whole life already sort out, House, Cars, money, you name it, and on top of all that he is effing Good Looking. Damn talk about winning the lottery life.

    And here I am 36 years old, 2 Divorces, Only an associate degree on (Computers/Programming/Tech Related) and a Bachelors on Business Adm., Currently Unemployed (Moved to USA first time in my life), Broke Car, Renting, at least not that bad looking 😂, Not a freaking Dollar in my pocket 😂, Fuck My Life, anyways the thing is I admire you and you inspire me to not give up and give my best shot in life. Keep it up Dr. Mikhail Varshavski AKA Dr. Mike. You earn a fan a sub here, and I'm not even into Medicine.

  20. Silence is golden. True. Inside the CR (toilet? Bathroom? They say it depends to what country, but it's a place where you poop. Yes.) it's the best to have silence. I don't know how people love bringing cellphone while pooping. I poop in complete silence and I extremely hate, pet peeve levels, if anyone tries to converse with me while I'm having my golden time inside the CR. When I achieve the perfect silence while pooping, it goes out really smoothly. Just sharin 😂

  21. I screwed up my sleeping schedule and I couldn’t sleep and I started thinking about many things, I hated how I can’t cry about it or thinking of them well or at least sleep, as much as I like silence, sometimes It really frightens me, I hate how sometimes I question if I’m really happy with my life especially in summer because I have a goal shortage.. kinda of, then I just watched this video and it was somehow calming, thank you for knowledge and enthusiasm

  22. It’s crazy you’re talking about this because I thought i was the only one who wanted silence lol. I recently stopped listening to music and I honestly don’t miss it and I feel so much better! I feel like I know myself better because I now observe my thoughts and I try to figure out my feelings or I try to figure out why I feel what I feel and it’s soo liberating because I don’t feel attached to noise or entertainment. I think everyone should try sitting in silence with no phone or form of entertainment. Youll definitely learn a lot about yourself:)

  23. I’m not dare to experience silence because it will triggers depression and anxiety. That’s why I keep numbing myself with YouTube videos.

  24. I wonder if Dr Mike reads comments on old videos hmm.. this came out on my birthday, it was like a present 😀

  25. I've always felt like anything the body needs to heal is already present and most medications are entirely unnecessary.

  26. MY MOM MET MARK – they are on a first name basis. She played basketball on his yacht with some of his team

  27. No, no, no. I love the quite and silence. I don't listen to a radio while working, though I'm often told I should. Nah….I prefer quiet and silence.

  28. You know the feeling of doing 30 squats with 50kg weights after a 2.5 mile run in 10 minutes followed by 50 push ups??

    That's the work Dr.Mike' shirt bottons are going through.

  29. Dr. Mike: "Is this making you uncomfortable?"
    Me: "THIS IS SO QUIET MY EARS HURT!"
    ….seriously…I can't even walk in a library anymore because the silence and quiet makes my ears literally, physically hurt…Dr. Mike, something's wrong with me…

  30. i legitimately cannot exist in silence.If I have a moment, i blast music in my ears and cover my eyes with something dark, and i just lay back and allow myself to relax. if i sit in silence for too long i get extremely jittery…. That's why my mother always said I talk too much. I can't exist in silence

  31. Sounds strange but driving in silence helps me. It focuses my mind on driving, what I have to do when I get to my destination… what I want for dinner. It’s great! Wonderful way to check in with yourself and listen to what your mind (and quite possibly your stomach) is saying. Strongly recommend it to everyone. 😁

  32. 7:07 if a shirt you get in the mail/ from a company smells like vinegar, it’s because that’s what the chemicals from the printing press that puts the letters/images on smells like !

  33. This happens to me whenever I'm in class.

    Me: says something smart
    Classmates: LOUD SCREAMING AND SHOUTING AND TALKING

    Me: says something stupid
    Classmates: drops dead silent

  34. I wear headphones (without music playing) any time I am at home for months to test that, but then when I take them off I am very jumpy😂

  35. I actually prefer silence ALOT more than noise. I would prefer to live a life of quietness than a life of loud noise.

  36. My boyfriend always needs noises and distraction, there´s not one second that he doesn´t listen to (upbeat) music or scroll through insta or facebook. I really worry about this habit since I feel like he is afraid of his own thoughts and of being alone. I already tried to talk to him about that, but he doesn´t wanna hear it and he hates to make a change, even if it might be a good thing. Any tips how I can convience him to at least try to have some silence time? That doesn´t mean that I think he should never listen to music ect., but to embrace silence once in a while.

  37. Silence totally is unnerving……the things that go on in my head lol actually writing a novel that involves silence.

  38. Dr. Mike you look so cute in the hat! Love the NYC 20’s/Italian mafiosa look on ya ! 😅 “how you doin” good Joey impression

  39. If I don’t get a moment to myself away from my son, husband, work etc. I start to get crazy. I think it’s very important for your mental health to have a couple of silent minutes every day.

  40. and what about TINNITUS!!!??? Can you do a video about it? and about the influence of noise (offices) in our health?

    Many people suffer from this "disease" but somehow it is still not recognised as such (at least not in Europe, but I don't know about the official status in the medical community). Tinnitus has many different causes (biological, psychologial nature) and it is very difficult to treat.
    Together with the inherent noise-filled offices of nowadays, for some people, this gets quite nasty and one gets difficulties at the job and also outside.

  41. Well, I was expecting you to talk, so your expectant look made me a little uncomfortable. But, my god, I would kill for some quiet/silence. There is entirely too much sound stimulation everywhere!! I can't get people to turn the TV off in this house!

  42. I can‘t really stand silence when I‘m alone because if it is silent and I don‘t really need to concentrate, my brain starts thinking too much and that‘s quite unhealthy for me. So I‘m always filling silence with Podcasts and Music.

  43. I don't have balance in my Life. I'm left alone in one room for more than 8 hours a day. Besides, I can't actually sit in silence, I've had ringing in my ears since I was really little. Soo, I listen to music to survive.

  44. When I was young I always hated silence and I would try to make conversation even tho it wasn'd needed. It put me under a lort of pressure and in a lot of unconfortable situations. One day a verry wise men said to me, that I am not responsible to fill the silence and sometimes it was good to have a quiet moment with someone. I don't know why but it resonated with me on such a deeper level and then I started practicing being silent and my conversations and my social skills improved. I feel like people would respect me more because the quality of my word improved and I stoped being so nervous.

  45. I’m a counseling student. I agree so much with what you said about silence. Silence, at least a little bit, can REALLY allow clients to reflect on themselves…

  46. I love silence…my husband thinks I'm crazy but I keep the radio off on my commute…if I ever am in the house alone some thing, I just savor the lack of noise.

  47. Thank you for this video! Silence is a key therapeutic tool during counselling sessions. I joke about the use of silence with my patients, saying, “I am a therapist, I can out-silence you!” If I wait long enough, the silence eventually turns into valuable conversation.

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