The modern world is polluted with noise. From the moment we wake up to the moment we lay our heads back down on the pillow, we’re constantly enveloped in sound. We’re incessantly fed information and media from the handheld devices that seem to be glued to our hands at all times. But that doesn’t even compare to the chaos that’s usually going on inside our own heads.
Researchers suggest that an average of 50,000 thoughts inhabit our minds each day. Some even say that number may be closer to 70,000. We are inundated with thoughts, emotions, and reactions to our external environment. Frequently we let these thoughts get the best of us when, in reality, they don’t do us any good. We let negative thought patterns and limited beliefs play on repeat inside our heads. It can feel next to impossible to shut down the mind chatter, especially when dealing with the stress of everyday life. It’s a never-ending trail of thoughts, ideas, and to-dos that endlessly permeate our mind.
What is the antidote then?
The power of silence is one of our most significant untapped resources.
As they say, silence truly is golden. It’s a ubiquitous virtue that can instantly shift our perspective to simply be with what is. Taking the space to be silent and still allows for a sense of inner peace to wash over you. It allows the mind to quiet for better overall clarity and serenity. It enables us to come back to the present moment intimately, which is all we truly have anyway. Plus, taking even just a few moments in our day to be silent has been shown to boost brain health, enhance memory function, and improve sleep quality.
The power of silence is often overlooked in our blaring world. But it is profoundly liberating to step away from the deafening noise both internal and external. With silence we allow the soul to speak.
You don’t have to escape off to a retreat sanctuary in the middle of nowhere to grasp the power of silence. Even small adjustments to your everyday life can give your mind and your soul the chance to come back to center, and come back to who you truly are.
Here are six ways to revel in the power of silence today:
Do yourself the tremendous favor of leaving your phone in another room while you sleep so that when you wake up, you can savor at least a few minutes of peace and quiet. How you start your morning can have a profound impact on the rest of your day. Do you think that scrolling through emails and social media the first thing in the morning is beneficial? Didn’t think so. Start slowly. Begin your day consciously and connected. Take the time to sit and simply be, even if just for five minutes of deep breathing. Come into a state of ease and connection. Experience the power of silence and recognize the sense of tranquility that results. It is from this state of awareness that you can begin your day. Bonus points if you don’t look at your phone for the first hour upon waking!
Leave your phone on airplane mode for a bit or, better yet, leave it at home altogether. Head out to your nearest hiking trail and take a walk. Immerse yourself in the soothing, healing essence of nature. Even a short stroll around the block on your lunch break will do. Focus on your breath as you move mindfully and intentionally with each step. Notice each part of your foot as it hits the earth. Let this be a reflective time to fully take in your surroundings as you embrace the sublime power of silence and tune into nature’s rhythms.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who was listening to you so fully that he or she took a pause before responding? That is the power of silence. It shows that you’re actively listening to what the other has to say without thinking of your response before they even finish their sentence. Many of us can feel slightly uncomfortable when silence lingers in the air. But next time you’re deep in conversation, take the time to really hear what is being spoken before you respond.
Slow down and tap into your senses as you mindfully eat your food. Eat one meal a week alone. Give yourself a break from taking food pictures on Instagram or talking with your mouth full. Instead, let your next meal be a moment of solitude and deep nourishment. Chew every morsel with care as you savor each flavor. Enjoy each bite with gratitude.
Many of us instinctively reach for the remote to have some white noise going on in the background. In fact, a study found that over half of Americans turn their televisions on while they do chores, cook, or work. 45 percent of Americans turn it on within 15 minutes of arriving home and over 60 percent fall asleep with it on. Take up an evening meditation or journaling exercise instead, even just once a week. Sip a cup of warm tea as you watch the sunset. Step away from the screens an hour before bed. Luxuriate in serenity for a change.
Let’s face it, the morning commute can be a real blood boiler with blaring horns, irritated drivers, and jabbering radio talk shows coming through the speakers. And when there’s nothing on the radio it‘s tempting to hop on the phone to get in a quick work call or family chat. Instead, use your time behind the wheel as an opportunity to get in some quiet time before taking on the world. Turn off the radio, switch off the Bluetooth, and bask in some uninterrupted peace.
Introducing even one of these six simple practices into your daily life can transform your ability to respond and flow throughout your life. Silence creates space, and spaciousness transforms the nature of how we experience time itself. Develop an ongoing and intimate relationship with the power of silence. You’ll be glad you did.
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