In an ever so noisy world of cars, television, and endless distraction at our fingertips having moments of silence is rare. Taking time to find stillness, turning off the sound, and tuning into the sounds of nature can be deeply healing. Behind the sounds we fill our world with, we have mental chatter, worries, and endless to-lists. Silence allows the mind to find a calm center. It creates more space to organize the monkey running our minds.
When we quiet our space and minds, we can hear the sound of our true nature. Deep down we long for this stillness. The loudness of our everyday world is unnatural and can be harmful to our health; the side effects of noise are a rise in blood pressure, disrupted sleep patterns, and tinnitus. On the other hand, science backed research has proven that silence has the opposite healing effect on the mind and body.
For many, silence can be frightening. Allowing the inner chatter to rise brings up unwanted thoughts, emotions, and restlessness.When the mind is finally still thoughts ruminate and can feel overwhelming. It feels strange to have nothing to distract from the inner self. Beyond fear and feeling uncomfortable lies solace in silence. Think “emptying the mind” to replenish your mental and physical health.
Beginning a routine of quiet will allow you to move past the fear and into the healing. Positive health benefits are stress reduction, sleep improvement, memory improvement, and regeneration of brain cells. You may find your creativity boosted and your general outlook on life to be better.
Here are some ways to find stillness and silence for you to practice.
Sitting in nature
For those of you who live in rural areas, near the ocean, or any body of water this can be a great start. Put aside time each day beginning at 10 minutes. Find a place where you can relax safely, quietly, and without distraction. This place should be remote away from traffic (this includes human traffic) and peaceful. Sit comfortably and take a few deep breaths. Allow thoughts to come and go without grabbing ahold of any. Take in the sights and how it feels to just breathe. Let the mind become still.
Embrace Baths & Showers
Bathing is a self care ritual. This time can become sacred as you wash away the day and cleanse for a fresh start. Feel the water on your skin. Breathe in the steam. (Add a few drops of essential oil to the corners of your shower or to bath water for added aromatherapy.) Let this time be yours. In silence. In stillness.
Take a Tech Break
This should be a weekly habit. Dedicate a few hours over the weekend to turning everything off. Phones, TVs, Ipods, speakers.. all tech. Become one with reality and the quiet world. Allow the rush of silence to wash over you. Follow any creative sparks.
Upon waking, thoughts rush in. What time is it? What do I have to do today? What messages have come through while I was sleeping? What am I going to wear? etc. Taking 10 minutes in bed to still the mind can change the outcome of your day. Sitting up or lying in childs pose helps so you don’t fall right back asleep. Center the mind, the day is fresh. Breathe in the silence.
DIY Silent Retreat
Plan a day that you can have to yourself. Find a nearby nature preserve, retreat center, or clear out your home for the day. Let friends and family members know that you will be unavailable for the hours throughout your silent retreat. Set a time frame from 2-12 hours that you will sit in complete silence. Plan activities like yoga, walking, eating, building a fire, or meditating. Avoid journaling or creating mental chatter during this time. After coming out of a long period of silence, be gentle with yourself. Write about your experience, be mindful of exposing yourself to lengthy conversation and loud noise.