Getting Quiet: How Silence Allows Us to Hear


In a world of constant busyness and unending stimulation, it can be hard to find the time to press pause. Between work, family, friends, TV, social media, and podcasts, when’s the last time you just sat in silence? But taking time to be quiet is so crucial to well-being. It gives us a chance to reflect, rejuvenate, and listen to ourselves. And that’s the only way we’ll be able to uncover the things we really want in life. What makes silence so necessary – and how can you find more of it? Humans are bad at multi-tasking. Although most of us do it all the time, multi-tasking isn’t very efficient. It means we’re not giving anything our full attention, and we’re prone to missing things and making mistakes. Just as it’s hard to read a book and watch a movie at the same time, it’s impossible to truly listen to ourselves when other things are going on. External forces influence us subconsciously. When there’s too much outside noise, it influences us in ways we don’t even realize. We might think we’re listening only to ourselves. But if other conversations are going on around us or a TV show is playing in the background, our brain still notices them. The only way to dive deeply into ourselves is to withdraw from external influence. Stress and anxiety get in the way of reflection. People with high levels of stress and anxiety often struggle to reflect or get in touch with themselves. And what leads to stress and anxiety? Too much busyness, excessive stimulation, and not enough time to relax and recharge. Spending more time in silence naturally alleviates these ailments, opening us up to deeper self-reflection. Learn to say “no.” Adding new items to your to-do list and more events to your calendar is always tempting. But busy schedules mean there’s no space for the necessary quiet time. If you want to spend more time in silence, you’ll probably need to forego something else. Try to get comfortable with saying “no” so you can reserve some time for yourself. Identify pockets of quiet time. Depending on your schedule and living situation, there may be some ways you can naturally enjoy more quiet time. For example, many people enjoy the stillness of the early morning, and rise before anyone else in their house is up. Others stay up past everyone else, relishing the solitude of the late night, or take advantage of a time when they’re usually home alone. No matter where quiet time fits into your day, make it a ritual. Sip tea, light a candle, sit by the window, or do whatever else makes it feel sacred. Practice yin yoga. Yin yoga can always be a way to find silence, especially if you practice at home. Unlike active styles of yoga, yin is passive. It requires very minimal “doing,” and each pose offers several minutes of stillness. Even though modern culture worships busyness, pressing pause is the only way you’ll be able to connect to yourself. Try to start making more time for silence today.
About the Author
Jennifer Ambrose Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher who left her office job in Boston to travel the world with her husband. She previously worked in international development and academic research, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. Some of her biggest passions include promoting responsible and mindful travel and helping her students develop their personal yoga practice.