The Busier You Are, the More You Need Quiet Time
Whether you go on a luxury retreat or a break from social media, the fact remains that quiet moments are needed.
Admittedly, the daily hustle and bustle helps with the bills and gives you that extra cash you need.
However, we sometimes get overwhelmed by these activities, that it becomes difficult to find ourselves.
Consequently, this is bad for business, as you can hardly focus and be productive in your career.
According to research, silence or quiet time have positive effects on the brain, with evidence found when the experiment was carried out on mice. They found that the hippocampus developed new cells when the mice were kept in a quiet environment for two hours.
Additionally, silence helps in the sustenance of energy. It helps to condition your mind to be responsive and adaptive to various situations.
Aside from helping with pressure from work, silence also has positive effects on one’s general well-being.
The truth is the world has become even noisier than it already is, with the advancement of social media, and also while running our daily activities.
This noise could have physical adverse effects on the brain and further increase the stress hormone level.
Science tells us that sound waves get to the brain through the ear in the form of electrical waves. These waves incite a reaction from the body, even when it is asleep.
Consequently, the part of the brain responsible for emotions and memory formation, amygdalae, gets activated, and could release stress hormones.
Thus, people who stay in a noisy environment tend to get stressed quickly because of the release of the stress hormones.
On the other hand, silence affects the brain positively by releasing the tension in the body and brain.
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE WHO SPEAK SILENCE
There are so many benefits that come with just sitting down and listening to the silence around you. Little wonder that a good number of celebrities ration their online presence to be successful.
Raymond Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, attributes his immense success to his ritual of indulging in Transcendental Meditation. He says that people who can detach themselves from the problems around them and remain calm under pressure possess a Super Mind.
Bill George, Harvard Business School Professor, talks about the relevance of mindfulness in leadership. To this effect, he says that meditation is one important thing he has done to improve his leadership. Additionally, it has helped him to be more self-aware and compassionate to those around him.
Tim Ryan, a six-term Congressman, also encourages the art of meditation. In a bid to unwind, after the stress of campaigning and legislating had taken a toll on him, he registered for a retreat with Jon Kabat-Zinn.
As a result, he had a life-changing experience that affected his career positively. He has gone further to advocate for mindfulness and meditation in every position he has held.
Other people who practice the art of a quiet life fully include JK Rowling, Carl Jung, Walter Isaacson, and many more.
These public figures have experienced the fulfillment that comes with silence and has further made it a habit to achieve success.
BENEFITS OF QUIET TIME
- Stress reduction
- Improvement of cognitive functions
- Increase in creativity
- Mood enhancement
- Increase in focus
- Defines priority
1. Stress Reduction
There is no overemphasizing the importance of silence in stress reduction. This is concerning its health benefits.
In a study done by Luciano Bernardi in 2006, the benefits of silence were indirectly discovered. The silence was used as a control in the experiment that studied the impacts of music on stress levels.
The silence was applied as a break between the songs played, and it was discovered that the pause (silence) was more relaxing than the “relaxing” music.
The impact of silence on the brain was said to be more felt because of the contrast between noise and silence.
Thus, silence, no matter how little, when weighed against other sounds, can help one deal with stress effectively.
Consequently, when you decide to indulge in a few minutes of solitude and silence without distractions, you can effectively curb the feelings of anxiety.
Additionally, the ability of silence to help with stress levels has been accepted by the medical field.
Meditation and solitude are now prescribed in place of anti-depressants in a bid to curb stress. Individuals are asked to remain calm and focus on a particular image, object, and thought to bring their focus to the present and maintain a peaceful state of mind.
2. Improvement of Cognitive Functions
Imke Kirste revealed that when the brain is exposed to a long period of silence, it begins to produce new cells. This experiment was carried out on mice, with silence as the control, yet again.
Consequently, the mice developed cells in the hippocampus. This result was observed when the mice were kept in silence for two hours every day. Although new brain cells may not automatically improve cognitive functions, if developed and worked on, it would be beneficial.
When you take out time for meditation and silence every day, you can maintain and improve your cognitive abilities.
You can learn new things, memorize, and remember things when necessary. Thus, helping you become more productive at work.
3. Increase in Creativity
When you shut out the outside noise continuously, you increase your chances of being more innovative.
Jonathan Smallwood, after a literature review, came up with the conclusion that humans are more creative when they disengage from the happenings around them.
He placed importance on self-generated thoughts rather than the external environment.
These thoughts are dependent on mental activities that occur internally when your mind is free of external exertion.
Activities like day-dreaming, mind wandering and thinking about future work together to enhance creativity.
According to neuroimaging research, the default network of the brain encourages self-generated thoughts.
Therefore, when the brain is at its maximum, business ideas and self-motivation are bound to occur; thus, the ability to solve problems and art-oriented performances.
4. Mood Enhancement
When you can control self-generated thoughts and disengage yourself from your external surroundings, you can manage your emotions.
As soon as you can reflect on your emotions, addressing issues arising will be less of a challenge to you.
Also, when the default network of your brain is at play, your focus is narrowed down to the present, thus, allowing you to overcome negative feelings and anxiety.
Sometimes, these emotional feelings could come as a result of working in a noisy environment, where you are easily distracted.
Consequently, this could be frustrating and lead to feelings of despair.
However, when you deliberately detach yourself from the noise and retreat to a quiet place for a while, you can improve your mood.
Also, you can avoid the distractions by informing your colleagues on the times when you are up for a discussion.
Another way to maintain a happy mood is by minimizing your access to your social media notifications. This way, you can avoid some unnecessary conversations that could spoil your mood.
5. Increase in Focus
Sensory input is inevitable wherever you find yourself, mostly at work, sometimes, at home.
As a result, the medial prefrontal cortex of your brain bears the burden whenever such input is received. This part of the brain is responsible for focused attention, high-order thinking, and problem-solving.
Constant stimuli in this region can get increasingly overwhelming, thus, making you lose focus and get fatigued mentally.
Contrarily, when the distractions are few, the brain can relax into a concentrated state. Therefore, being quiet can help restore the attention of your brain effectively; thus, it can help you stay focused.
Rachel and Stephen Kaplan developed the attention restoration theory in 1989 after a series of hypotheses.
This theory shows that a certain level of exposure to a natural, quiet environment will improve a stress-free cognitive function.
Thus, this will make the brain develop the attention capacity as it lowers its sensory guard.
Admittedly, working in a corporate environment may not allow you to walk to a natural environment.
However, just a simple walk outside your office can help you regain focus and be more productive.
6. Defines Priority
When you are always caught up with one activity or the other, you may find yourself misplacing your priorities. Indulging in too many activities at a time will make you lose sight of what is essential.
In the same vein, a noisy environment and mind will cause distraction, thus, misplacement of priorities.
A quiet environment, however, will help you reflect and rediscover what you tag important or not.
This way, the critical tasks can be taken care of while the unnecessary can be discarded.
Here are some things to reflect on during your quiet time to help you define your priorities:
- Identify those who are most important to you.
- Reflect on the activities you enjoy doing.
- Be aware of your talents and skills.
HOW TO FIND (AND ENJOY) YOUR QUIET TIME
1. Prioritize Your Quiet Time
Saying it and doing it are on two different levels of achieving a set goal. If you want a quiet time, then you have to make it a priority and go all out to get it.
For instance, as a mum who works, you are almost always busy; thus, there is a need for you to insist on having a quiet time, going on sabbatical, or even vacation.
Firstly, you need to understand why your quiet time is essential to you as well as its benefits. As soon as this is done, you will find yourself relaxing more while experiencing your quiet time without feeling guilty.
The good part of this is that there is no recommended time; you could decide to take out 5-10 minutes of silence and meditation.
2. Adopt a Simple Practice
When you are considering a quiet time routine, you should settle for one that is not complicated.
Thus, you do not need to indulge in a long process or an activity that will take out a chunk of your day.
The truth is if you schedule an hour for your quiet time, getting that full hour can be near impossible. Therefore, you should deliberately start with a short time to meditate during your quiet time.
Also, you don’t need to indulge in a complicated process such as Zen practices or extreme Yoga practices. Your quiet time can only involve a short period of silence and meditation.
Merely resting your head for 5 minutes without talking or taking a short stroll in a calm environment can go a long way.
3. Work with a Schedule
While trying to get moments of quiet time, streamlining and following a set schedule can go a long way. Spending a lot of time surfing the internet, watching TV, or going through your emails can be time-consuming.
Also, doing a lot of things that you don’t enjoy doing can be threatening your peace.
Therefore, getting your life on a daily schedule can help you deliver adequately and give you the much needed quiet time.
Additionally, when you eliminate the activities that are costing you your peace, you can be assured of your quiet time. Arrange your schedule with a compulsory quiet time added to it.
If you are faithful to this schedule, then you can always have a quiet time and stick to it.
4. Wake Up a Bit Early or Sleep a Bit Late
We all know how sleep is vital to the mental health of an individual; however, the quiet time you crave can be just around the corner.
The best time of the day to work has always been early in the morning or late at night. The common factor between these two is the absence of noise.
If you need quiet time and you find it difficult to squeeze it into your day, then you should consider getting up earlier than others at home or sleeping later.
Consequently, this is the quietest time at home, unless you live with noisy neighbors.
If you are worried about getting enough sleep, you can wake up 15 minutes before the household wakes and indulge in activities that give make you fulfilled.
Also, when you wake up at these times, you can sit in silence and reflect on the present.
Although this practice can be helpful, you have to be disciplined enough not to get indulged in other activities that will take your time and leave you busy.
Also, do what works for you. Some individuals may favor waking up early, while some may prefer sleeping late; either way, you should check both schedules out and choose the best.
However, if neither of them works for you, you can try squeezing out 5-10 minutes out of your plan to reflect in silence.
5. Go on a Meditation Retreat
Retreats are arguably the best way to get more in tune with yourself and your surroundings, and you can’t do this in a noisy environment. Endeavor to take out time to go on a retreat, far from the hustle of the office or the bustle of your home.
When you do this, you will awaken your intuition, listen more in-depth, and experience inner peace. You should consider going without any form of distraction, as this will make you focus on the present without distractions.
Andrew Sullivan said when he went on a silent retreat; he felt his brain moving away from the abstract and distant toward the tangible and near.
OTHER METHODS OF GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR QUIET TIME INCLUDE:
- Leave your headsets behind: sometimes, while we are commuting to school or work, we make use of earphones in an attempt to “block out the noise.” However, this will give you a different result as the “relaxing” music could count as noise and disrupt your peace. Thus, utilize this quiet time to the maximum and enjoy the most productive time of the day.
- Turn off your phones: Phones have as many advantages as disadvantages. As much as we try to keep abreast of the trends and happenings globally, we still need a moment of quiet. Additionally, social media is not as helpful as it comes with its quirks. When you take out time to be quiet, you should try to do this without your phone affecting your peace. Thus, you should turn it off while taking time off.
- Book a meeting room for you: Office work might be hectic and the halls even noisier. In such cases where you cannot tune out the noise, we advise that you book a meeting room for yourself where you can relax, reflect, and work in silence. The silence is therapeutic and will help you deliver more than expected. Also, if you do not want to work, you can decide to sit in silence and meditate.
In the corporate world and also at home, we all need time to block out the noise to avoid feelings of frustration. If this is not done, we tend to be irritable and lack creativity.
Therefore, the practices above are tested and trusted to give you the desired quiet time without distractions.
Although you can decide to indulge in these practices, if you are not disciplined or if you are not faithful to it, then you will lose out on its benefits. If you need quiet time, then deliberately block out the noise and tune your mind to the present.
However, if you still have difficulty doing this, you can sign up with different organizations that are aimed at helping you become more mindful of your health.
Hence, you can be exposed to therapeutic meditation practices.
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