Finding moments of silence can be challenging. The world is not built for quiet contemplation. In fact, it often seems people are bombarded with prompts to add more noise to their days, whether it's in the form of a new television series to binge or videos on social media.
Developing a regular, intentional practice of silence has many benefits, though. Here are some great perks of slowing down and embracing the quiet.
If you have tried meditation, you probably are aware of how helpful it can be. There are many well-known benefits of meditating regularly:
- Soothes anxiety and depression
- Reduces stress
- Improves pain resistance
- Increases focus
One of the main reasons people find meditation so difficult is that they have a hard time sitting in silence. If you actively seek silence by getting rid of unnecessary sounds, though, you are setting yourself up for success the next time you meditate.
Decreasing the stimuli you take in with one sense tends to heighten the others. The less aural noise you have in your life, the more likely you are to notice things you can see, smell, taste and feel. This phenomenon can expand your attention and let you experience the world around you in new ways.
To test this, try an experiment on your next walk in the park. Instead of listening to a podcast or your favorite playlist while you move, leave the headphones at home. Focus on the sounds and sights around you. Do you hear birds singing or children playing on the playground? When you get home, jot down the things that grabbed your attention that you have never noticed before. Before long, you'll have a whole journal full of the wonders that surround you.
Maintaining the mind and body connection has been linked to physical health and improvements in emotion processing. Silence helps you put a pause on all the messages drowning everything else out so you can focus on how you are feeling. The fewer distractions you have in your life, the more you are able to listen to your body.
In fact, silence helps you improve your listening skills overall. This can significantly increase the quality of your relationships. When you make a conscious effort not to talk so much, you are communicating that you care about others and want to understand where they're coming from. This simple consideration helps build trust and keep the lines of communication open.
Practicing silence naturally teaches you other forms of self-restraint. It's not always easy to say no to the next episode or to really focus on what the other person is saying instead of planning your own response. When you make an effort to control the amount of noise you experience and generate, though, those skills will translate to other areas where you want to exercise willpower.
Better Mental Health
Many common mental health challenges are associated with overstimulation. For example, those who experience anxiety or ADHD often find their ability to focus is strained when there is a lot going on around them. Excessive stimuli can trigger executive function issues and make them want to shut down completely. If you are easily distracted, seeking silence may be able to help you circumvent some of the effects that being bombarded with too many sounds tends to have on you.
Unless you take a retreat to a remote location, you probably can't eliminate all extraneous sounds from your day. But fortunately, even small changes can have a positive outcome. You may be pleasantly surprised to find how much better life can be when you practice regular periods of silence.