Be quiet

20110407224131_dieter20damschen20-20silence

When was the last time that your idea of relaxing was listening to the air conditioning pump waves of coolness through the room? Or staring blankly off into space while slouched in the couch in your living room? Or lying on the floor motionless and waiting until all you can see is the black behind your eyelids? These forms of relaxing aren’t what first crosses my mind when I need to wind down. But maybe they should be.

If you are anything like me, free time is consumed by the TV yammering in the background, maybe music faintly playing from my computer or the sound of my family’s voices or someone on the phone fills the quiet space of my house. Recently, though, I have been trying something new. Instead of dousing my calm-craving brain in more and more noises, I’ve sought silence instead.

At first, the quiet bugged me. I was tempted to at least turn on some music. But after really thinking about it, I realized that even if silence was irksome at the moment, maybe it shouldn’t be.

Especially in this day and age, everything we do can seem like multitasking. It may seem like our brains have adapted to our busy-bee life style, but having to take in and process information constantly actually really stresses our brains.

As part of my New Year’s resolution, I jumped back into habitual yoga. Most practice sessions end with corpse pose, shavasana, where you lie motionless on your yoga mat and space out until you don’t even realize that you are breathing. For a busy-body like me, this was a hard pose to do. Halfway through, my anxious, impatient self would want to look around, move around or at least tap my fingers to fill the blank, quiet space.

As I keep going to yoga, though, this pose has become easier and easier to settle into at the end of practice. The quiet lets my brain calm down, relax and stop having to put up with the constant stimulation I otherwise am putting it through. Lying in silence has taught me how to truly relax and has opened my mind to welcoming the quiet at other times of my day, not only when I am at the yoga studio.

I’ll present some crazy silence science later on in another post probably, but I wanted this one to just serve as a tip from me to you. If you are looking for an ultimate way to relax and escape, let your brain rest with some minutes of pure silence. Whether it be at your desk, on your couch after work or in bed before you sleep, try to take a second to let your mind go blank. I like to think about looking at the night sky. My brain eventually takes over and fills in the black you see when you close your eyes. Taking seconds of silence has helped me reduce my stress and maintain a more acute focus throughout the day. I hope that you might try being quiet, too.

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