‘Silence is essential. We need silence, just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words and thoughts, there is no space for us.’ – Thich Nhat Hanh
I have been more fortunate than many by being able to work throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, however after spending a long time without a break, I recently took a trip to Llyn Brianne – a beautiful man made reservoir in Mid Wales with nothing but water, mountains and silence, beautiful silence. Whilst I was there I became aware of how long it had been since I’d last had such moments of tranquility and connection with myself and my surroundings, and how a place that was free from the constant hubbub of the outside world was enabling me to reconnect with myself.
We are living in astonishing times that are filled with noise and distractions hitting us from all angles. We often have too much stimuli; every sound, every touch, every taste are stimuli that our brain has to receive and interpret. We are not only surrounded by every day life sounds but also the continual flow of technology. Gone are the days of coming home, sticking your feet up and switching off. Our mobile phones and social media dictate the pace of our lives. This means we are now in persistent connection with the noise from our external world as well as the chatter in our minds.
Silence is not necessarily the absence of noise, but the absence of stimulus and distraction that can cause harm to our physical and emotional wellbeing and make us detach from our senses. Simply ‘being’ has started to become a thing of the past as we slowly move further from ourselves, switching off from our innate selves as we try to interpret the noise through thoughts in our heads. We then neglect the present moment, often ignoring it because we have exhausted our mental energy. Incorporating silence into our lives can help us become more mindful, so taking some time out in a quiet time or place creates peace and harmony, reduces the stimuli and the impact on our brain and our body and give us more time to think clearly or to just be.
Silence can encourage our light bulb moments because the lack of external stimuli allows our brain to process more quickly and clearly and also allows time for us to reflect and process. It also can help us feel comfortable in our own skin, just being, seeing the positives and gratitudes and enabling us to listen to the sounds around us. This therapeutic silence helps us focus our attention on the now and clarity emerges which can give us strength to deal with painful and pent up emotions. Releasing these painful past experiences allows us to give ourselves compassion through our own unconditional love.
Here is my top 6 ways we can enjoy the power of silence:
When we find a silent space in our day, mindfulness meditation is a great way to make a deeper connection to the present moment and accepting it without judgement. It can help to anchor a moment of silence that we can return to when the stresses of life or negative thoughts start to intrude on our wellbeing.
Alone time in nature has a profound effect. The feeling of a cool breeze, the warmth of the sun on your face, the sand between your toes all multiply the effect of silence in the core of our wellbeing. Every time that I’m out in the elements, I find that life stands still and my thoughts and my core quieten, allowing me to simply enjoy the silence of the moment even if “nature’s silence” still includes the chirping of birds and babbling of a stream. Being silent in nature can help us appreciate the beauty of nature and the seasons. It can help us gain wisdom and a sense of calmness and peace – we can start being in tune with the changes of the seasons.
Enjoy the silence, simply let it be. Your mind and body are reactive and responsive, but in trying to achieve silence and stillness it can be difficult to disengage from these processes, however in silence you will become aware which of these thoughts and stimuli are important to your physical and emotional wellbeing, and which can be let go.
Journaling. Therapeutic writing such as journaling and blogging can help you process and reflect on the day. Writing about the positives and negative can help you eliminate unhelpful habits or behaviours that cause detrimental impact in your life as well as highlight the positive aspects to build on. It can help you reflect on your life and learn from it, enabling you to understand what makes you happy and doing more of that to create healthy goals and it can also be a record of your life so that you can look back at it and learn from it (even noting the elements arounds us – birds cheeping, sun on our face etc). Writing can bring clarity to your thoughts and feelings. Talking via writing can be powerful and empowering.
Get up early or late night reflection. Every morning I get up half an hour earlier than the rest of the family, go into my office with a cup of tea and have a cuddle with the cat!! This period of quiet solitude allows me to gather my thoughts for the day before the working day. I open the windows and can hear the sounds of the birds in the trees. My husband on the other hand prefers to have 30 minutes silence at the end of the day as it allows him to park the events of the day and enjoy a more peaceful sleep. He turns off gadgets and sits in quietness.
A digital detox. Just turn off all devices and gadgets and give your mental inbox a break from the constant stream of new information and expectations, whether its for an hour every evening or all day Sunday – it’s ok to be unavailable!
Silence doesn’t have to mean being alone or quiet. Its finding that place, time or activity that helps release stress and reduce the constant stimulation of your mind and body, either giving you greater clarity of thinking or clearing your head of everything other than the simple opportunity to refocus on yourself.
Much Love, Lynette xx