“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.” ~Deepak Chopra
I have always taught my team that when faced with a challenge we have good, better and best solutions, all are going to net an acceptable result. We always strive for the best, but on occasion better or good may be all we have the choice of, as “no effort” is unacceptable. When it comes to caring for ourselves, we need to consider this concept, to keep us consistent on the well-being track. When we cannot do our best, better is an option and good is our last resort. So as you read these 10 benefits of silence, think to yourself how you may begin to implement silence into your regimen of self-care. We are offering you an opportunity to practice with us December 20, 2018 from 4-8:00 we will be performing treatments for you in silence. Here are some benefits of why:
- Grow Your Brain
The brain is the most complex and powerful organ, and like muscles, benefits from rest. UCLA research showed that regular times set aside to disengage, sit in silence, and mentally rest, improves the “folding” of the cortex and boosts our ability to process information.
Carving out as little as 10 minutes to sit in your car and visualize peaceful scenery (rainforest, snow-falling, beach) will thicken grey matter in your brain. The best would meditation – listening to a self-guided mediation, according to a study from UCLA, found that long-term meditators had better-preserved brains than non-meditators as they aged.
- Improves Memory
Combining solitude with a walk in nature causes brain growth in the hippocampus region, resulting in better memory.
Evolutionists explain that being in nature sparks our spatial memory as it did when our ancestors went hunting — remembering where the food and predators were was essential for survival. Taking a walk alone gives the brain uninterrupted focus and helps with memory consolidation.
- Dissolving Tomorrow’s Troubles
Our frustration and anxiety is rooted in being disconnected — living in the future, which is but an illusion.
Silence brings our awareness back to the present — where concrete happiness is experienced. The future falls short of what the present can deliver. Silence and solitude pulls us out and immerses us back in the present.
- Bypassing Burnout
Too often, our culture assigns self-worth with productivity. We tend to make ourselves lists upon lists, trying to get it all accomplished, when if we took a few moments to do just nothing, and then do it again, we would actually accomplish more and with more intention and quality.
Solitude allows for a break from the tyrant of productivity. And rather than being in opposition, doing nothing helps with doing much. As the saying goes, if we do not fill up our cup we have nothing to give.
- Heightened Sensitivity
For many, attempting ten days of silence would be akin to walking on water. Vipassana (means to see things as they really are) silent retreats are exactly that; participants are instructed to refrain from reading, writing, or eye contact.
One hundred scientists went on a retreat for research and noted that shutting off the faculty of speech heightens awareness in other areas. Beginning with breathing, that focus and sensitivity is then transferred to sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, intentions, and emotions.
- Strengthens Intention and Action
Psychologist Kelly McGonigal says during silence, the mind is best able to cultivate a form of mindful intention that later motivates us to take action.
Intentional silence puts us in a state of mental reflection and disengages our intellectual mind. At that point McGonigal says to ask yourself three questions:
- “If anything were possible, what would I welcome or create in my life?”
- “When I’m feeling most courageous and inspired, what do I want to offer the world?”
- “When I’m honest about how I suffer, what do I want to make peace with?”
Removing that critical mind allows the imagination and positive emotions to build a subconscious intention and add fuel to our goals. McGonigal explains, “When you approach the practice of figuring this stuff out in that way, you start to get images and memories and ideas that are different than if you tried to answer those questions intellectually.
- Increases Self-Awareness
The visceral reaction of cussing at a loved one or over-disciplining our children often comes with regret. It happens when we’re completely governed by actions, and absent of reasonable thought.
In silence, we make room for the self-awareness to be in control of our actions, rather than under their control. The break from external voices puts us in tune to our inner voices — and it’s those inner voices that drive our actions. Awareness leads to control.
Practice becoming an observer of your thoughts. The human will is strengthened whenever we choose not to respond to every actionable thought.
- “A-Ha” Moments
The creative process includes a crucial stage called incubation, where all the ideas we’ve been exposed to get to meet, mingle, marinate — then produce a eureka or “A-ha” moment. The secret to incubation? Nothing. Literally; disengage from the work at hand, and take a rest. It’s also the elixir for mental blocks.
What’s typically seen as useless daydreaming is now being seen as an essential experience. Professor Jonathan Schooler from UC Santa Barbara says, “Daydreaming and boredom seem to be a source for incubation and creative discovery in the brain.”
- Mastering Discomfort
Just when you’ve found a quiet place to sit alone and reflect, an itch will beckon to be scratched. But many meditation teachers will encourage you to refrain, and breath into the experience until it passes. Along with bringing your mind back from distracting thoughts and to your breathing, these practices during silence and solitude work to build greater self-discipline.
- Emotional Cleansing
Our fight/flight mechanism causes us to flee not only from physical difficulties, but also emotional difficulties. Ignoring and burying negative emotions however, only causes them to manifest in stress, anxiety, anger, and insomnia.
Strategies to release emotional turbulence include sitting in silence and thinking in detail about what triggered the negative emotion. The key is to do so as an observer — stepping outside of yourself as if you’re reporting for a newspaper. It’s a visualization technique used by psychotherapists to detach a person from their emotions, which allows you to process an experience objectively and rationally.
from article by Thai Nyugen
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