The word silence comes from the Latin word “silens” meaning to be still, quiet, or at rest. How much of your day is spent still, quiet, or at rest? Do you allow silence into your home so you can rest, reflect, and grow, or do you tend to always fill silence with something?
In today’s society we don’t spend a lot of time in silence. Your phone is notifying you of an incoming text, the TV is on in the background or music is playing throughout your day. This week’s #bebetter52 is to find silence in your day. Specifically, turn off all the music, the television, the podcasts, and the audiobooks, and sit with yourself in silence for at least five minutes. Find little moments--on your drive to and from work or at night in your backyard under the stars once your kids go to bed.
Sitting in silence might be looked at as time lost when you have an unending to-do list, but the time we sit in silence is not wasted. Silence, solitude, and stillness give us a break from always being "on" and productive. You and your brain deserve a rest from constant noise and input! Studies prove silence can relieve stress and tension, replenish our mental resources and regenerate brain cells.
Not only that, but silence can also help us tap into “default mode network,” what scientists call “self-generated cognition.” This is the time we daydream, let our minds wander and meditate. Engaging in this network helps us be more creative, reflective and empathetic with others. Taking a break and letting your mind process all you've been working on could lead to an "A-ha!" moment with the potential to propel you forward in your work or creative project.
If you have small kids and it's difficult for you to find silence, try to include them in your challenge! Sit together in silence and take deep, slow breaths. Tell your kids to let their thoughts pass like clouds in the sky. Let them think, imagine and wonder about anything that comes into their thoughts. Teaching children to be comfortable in silence is a precious lesson that can help them feel calm and in tune with their emotions. We love some of the suggestions highlighted by Psychology Today to help teach your children the value of silence. They state, “Set aside time at the home where no one will be plugged in to anything, go for walks outside in nature, and use time in car when no one listens to music.”
As Herman Melville once wrote, “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.” This week you will reap the reward of self-awareness, reflection, meaning, imagination, and inspiration, all by finding some silence throughout your day!