Everyone likes a little jibber jabber in their day. A week without any conversations might be boring to some. Humans feel the need to reach out and communicate. It is part of our nature.
Even Tom Hanks talked to his volleyball Wilson when his character was stranded on a desert island. But what would happen if you made a vow to stop talking, even if you had
the ability? Would your vocal cords freeze up and prevent you from being able to emit sound later? Today we explore this question in some detail.
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You might think that no one would ever try this feat to find out what it’s like, but there have been people who
have remained mum for over a decade.
The Guardian newspaper details a story about a person named John Francis would did not speak for 17 whole years. That is even longer than our designated period of a decade.
He was very young when he stopped talking- only 27 years-old. He did so because he felt that he had become very argumentative. While you can read his whole story in the article, he was able to start up again after he
had ceased. He recounts though that he did not recognize his voice at first.
However, this is not where the story ends. The vocal cords are muscles, just like any other muscle. Think about what happens to your body when you stop working out or doing any exercise. You might still survive, but you will have consequences. Your muscles might not even look like they are there after a while. They will just not be very strong.
The laryngeal muscle, similarly, might go into a state of atrophy. It would cause a condition known as presbylaryngis. That is truly a mouthful to say. But if you tried to say it after a decade, it might not be so easy.
If you got presbylaryngis, you would probably not be able to say that word, or anything, as loud as you used to. And also, your voice would sound much higher. In addition, another side effect is a hollow sounding voice. That means your voice would have much less character to it. Maybe this is why
Francis initially didn’t recognize his own voice- the cadence to it was perhaps different.
However, you could never really get to this stage of atrophy just by ceasing to talk. You would also have to stop breathing and eating. And no one can do that so far without the help of machines, so this probably won’t happen to most people who are mute.
So this is definitely good news for people who want to go on a quest for
silence. If John Francis could go on to do a TED Talk after 17 years, then there is life after silence.
Some people even laud the benefits of having a word cease fire. Adrian Segar went on a retreat to New Mexico and discovered the advantages of a mini word break there at a ranch.
Adrian was able to listen to the body better. He practiced experiential learning and implemented mindful eating into his routine. Now Adrian is
at his lowest weight in 35 years. That is an unexpected side effect.
No one though is suggesting that a good diet plan is to stop talking while on vacation. But it did work for someone else, so perhaps it could be worth looking into.
Getting people to listen to you might even require you to actually stop talking, according to Psychology Today. It can be easier to hear what is going on around you when you are not busy yammering. And when you
do speak, you will be able to command the room if you have practiced active listening. Just try to re-iterate what others say as well, and you will do better than having argued without listening.
Some people have recorded their diaries of ten day ventures to stop talking. It seemed that they appreciated news a lot more when it was complete- especially good news. That is certainly nothing though compared to a decade long feat.
So, if you stop talking will you lost your uniqueness? Is your tongue, that makes a mark on the world, all you have? Most would counter no. Your speech does not give you your identity, any more than your fingerprint is the essence of all your other bio markers.
There are many people, as seen in this video, who laud the benefits of not talking for long or short periods of time. Many of those people seem to agree that it is better if you feel you need to accomplish something- like
not squabbling as much or even losing weight.
People from all walks of life could benefit from the joys of active listening, especially in business. It can be more effective than persuasive speeches, much to the chagrin of those who have just prepared lengthy diatribes.
Atrophy of the vocal chords, of course though, is a serious concern. But performing one’s other vital functions
will prevent the throat from completely freezing up.
So what about you- would you ever try a retreat where the main purpose is to stop talking? Do you believe that you could even last a day without uttering a word? Or are you of the notion that talking is over rated and that you would at least be willing to talk less in order to perceive more?
Well, that’s all the time we have today, now it’s time for us to actively listen to you. Miggi so bad says
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