Evolutionary Psychology

Peace And Quiet To Reduce Stress Levels

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One of the best parts about spending time in nature is how quiet it is. The discrepancy between life in the city and life in nature is shockingly apparent. It’s jarring to realize that the sort of peace and quiet we value out there was the reality for our ancestors not just for a short weekend trip but pretty much all the time.

The reason any of the senses evolve in various organisms is for their survival value. An evolved auditory apparatus gave humans obvious survival advantages like hearing rustling in the bushes to spot a predator or the sound of gurgling water in the distance to satiate thirst, for example.

But our hearing apparatus, basically unchanged since the days of our caveman ancestors, wasn’t prepared for the cacophony of sounds that we face all day every day in the modern world, the never ending noise pollution that is impossible to escape. If you wonder why you feel stressed out all the time, a simple explanation is that you’re not giving your brain the peace and quiet that was the norm when it evolved to its current state.

One thing you can do for yourself to bring things back into balance a little bit is to put aside a block of time every few days, even as little as thirty minutes, where you find a quiet space and just focus on your breathing. You don’t even need to treat this time as focused meditation if you don’t want to. Let your thoughts wander but give your brain a break from the constant barrage of noise, and you’ll notice yourself feeling calm, relaxed, and more prepared to face the wall of noise that is living in a city in the modern world.