Our lives are busy, and many of us don’t embrace silence that often. So how can silence help us?
Silence. Some of us welcome it. For others, the thought of sitting in silence is enough to make their skin crawl. Silence offers opportunities for self-reflection and daydreaming, which activates multiple parts of the brain. It gives us time to turn down the inner noise and increase awareness of what matters most. Silence also has physical benefits like lowering your blood pressure, steadying your breathing, reducing muscle tension and increasing focus and cognition.
The quality of our quiet time, especially for us introverts, says a lot about the state of our well-being. Introverts naturally gravitate toward environments with less external stimulation, so it makes sense that high-quality quiet time directly impacts our wellness. But quiet time is not just about external silence. To fully harness its potential, we must turn with intent toward the quiet space within.
As stress hormones like cortisol increase, our heart rate quickens and digestion slows (among other physiological signs that we need to fight or flee the situation), as we move physically and mentally further into defence mode. And while this stress response is appropriate in times of real danger, it harms our energy levels, immunity, cardiovascular health, and mental wellbeing when chronically in gear. Therefore, our quiet times have a great impact on our wellbeing. When our quiet hours are imbued with a sense of peace and calm, the body is able to rest and reset, lowering the stress response
Tips to start your quiet time practice:
- Meditation is the practice of sitting in silence and focusing on the present moment. This is one of the best ways to incorporate quiet time into your day. As you cultivate a desire for silence, you can slowly increase the time until you’re meditating for five to 15 minutes in the morning and at night.
- Enjoying your morning tea/coffee- spend time with your morning beverage mindfully. Enjoy the process of making it and taking slow sips; savouring every moment.
- Looking out the window the next time you’re a passenger in the car instead of picking up your phone.
- Walking by yourself and listening to the natural noises around you instead of music.
- Watch the rhythm of your breathing – whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again
- Become aware of your self-limiting thoughts– Habitual thoughts and beliefs rooted in judgment, shame, or unworthiness hold us back from self-love, compassion, and vitality. Watch your thoughts. Say Cancel- Cancel to any and every self-limiting thought.
- Digital detox daily for 30 minutes- put your phone/electronic gadgets on silent, and focus on the natural sounds, smells and vistas around you while practising self-reflection.
- Daily journaling- By journaling, you can increase your awareness of how you feel, privately articulate your feelings or needs, and feel more confident in expressing who you are or what you dream of. Documenting a stream of consciousness can feel liberating. At first, your thoughts may seem tightly controlled, but as you write more, you may be surprised at the subconscious thoughts that come to the surface.
It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Just take advantage of those quiet moments throughout the day and your mind and body will thank you for it. Finding moments of silence can have significant psychological and mental health advantages and give you a greater sense of peace. It can also help you be more creative and improve your concentration and focus. With a bit of practice, you can reap the benefits of silence and improve your mental health and well-being. Add 30 minutes of daily silence to your calendars. Let’s do it!