It was Pascal, the 17th century French mathematician who said “All of man’s problems could be solved if he could just learn to sit alone in a room with himself for an hour.” This might sound a little over-stated, but then again in our century when do we ever have an hour of quiet to ourselves? Never, right? We live in a very rushy-rushy, instant-gratification motivated, highly connected world. There are constant demands on us from our work, family, friends, phones… life comes in at us from all directions and even finding one quiet moment to ourselves a day can seem like Mission Impossible.
Here, on National Quiet Day (14th September) is why you should try.
Five reasons you should aim for more quiet in your life.
1. Stress reduction
When you do manage to quiet your mind the body’s stress response is shut off so the calm and relaxation of the moment are amplified. The absence of stress not only allows you to avoid stress-related diseases, but it also strengthens your immune system, which helps you to build your resistance to illness.
2. Mental clarity
As you get better at slowing down your thinking and quieting your mind, you will find that your concentration improves, and your ability to think critically and solve problems will sharpen.
3. Closer friendships
It might sound contrary but being a quiet person can actually make it easier to get to know other people. That’s because people become aware that you are a good listener and that you are paying attention and will be there for them, rather than instantly start telling them how something similar happened to you.
4. Improved creativity
Albert Einstein said, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” And it is true that constant activity and busyness can shut off your imagination and ability to think creatively. Finding, say, five minutes twice a day to be quiet can allow your natural flair and creativity back in.
5. Increased productivity
Being quiet often means you get a lot of work done while others are engaged in texting, checking social media or idle conversation.
6. Less compulsive or addictive behaviours
Quiet gives you the space to think before you act and so can help to free you up from any unhealthy habits or self-destructive patterns you may have got into.
7. Added self-confidence
The space to think that quietness brings also allows you, in time, to examine your motivations and know your own mind, which in turn leads you to feeling more comfortable in your own skin, questioning yourself less, and being more sure of yourself.
Three Tricks to Achieving More Quiet in Your Life
1. Expect nothing
Those who practice mindfulness and meditation often have high expectations of what they will get out of their practices. But it is important not to be “goal oriented” about quiet. It will be different every time, try to accept this and be flexible about the benefits it might bring especially at first. The mere idea that you will sit quietly for five (or 10 or 20 minutes) will have a huge and beneficial effect on your mind and body. Relax and enjoy.
2. Find your comfort spot
Unfortunately not everyone has a room of their own or can retreat to a serene landscape especially if you live in a densely populated city like London. But if you learn to get comfortable in the space you do have you will be surprised how easy it is to get some peace and quiet. The key here is to find a spot you can sit comfortably in and just ‘be’ in the way that makes you feel most comfortable.
3. Don’t try to eliminate the sounds around you
It is a hard fact of modern life, but it’s almost impossible to find somewhere to be quiet where there is no background noise at all. The noise of others or their machines is near constant so rather than try to avoid sound, you are going to have to get used to it, make it part of your quest and learn to be quiet despite it. But first of all you need to recognise that you don’t have to be sealed in silence to find stillness. No one or nothing else should be able to hamper your ability to sit and think. Once you have learnt that, you will be better able to quiet your mind and not let ambient noise throw you off.
If you find it hard to achieve quiet and stillness in your life, we have a team of counsellors and therapists who will be able to help. We also have Mindfulness Workshops. For more information, call 020 8673 4545 or email [email protected] and they will be able to help you find you the right therapist for you or book you in to a workshop.