Today has been a weird one. Not in a bad way necessarily. But just in a way where I think, huh, this hasn’t happened in a while.
It’s 5pm as I write this, and I’ve just realized I haven’t spoken once today.
Not a word.
I’ve been alone for the whole day, and it’s been…well, weird.
When I lived in Toronto by myself this use to happen much more frequently, since I didn’t have friends or family up there, but lately, not so much.
And guess what?
It’s been kinda nice.
Would I want to be alone everyday, just chilling with myself? Absolutely not. Been there, done that.
But for today, where I’ve had time to be with myself in total silence, it’s been an unexpected treat.
And so, if you ever have a solo day that you’re dreading, or you just don’t particularly like having slow days by yourself, here are some benefits I have found when I take time to be in total and complete silence.
The Three Benefits of Total Silence:
1. I can recognize my thought patterns better
This might not be true for everyone, but when I’m silent for an extended amount of time, I start to hear myself better.
Or, more specifically, I start to listen to myself.
For example, today I found myself getting overwhelmed by thoughts of the future. In typical Andrea fashion, I started to dream big, which almost always leads me into this dangerous world of overwhelm.
What I found, though, was because I has been in silence for the whole day, I could really hear that overwhelm.
There weren’t a million other things going on, I wasn’t worrying about anyone else, and instead, I could just focus on my own thoughts and realize I was overwhelming myself. This lead me to stopping that train of thought before it got out of control.
When you can hear yourself, you can correct yourself, so you can better yourself.
2. I can hear myself breathe
Oh my goodness, this sounds so cheesy, but just bear with me for a moment…
In general, I am definitely someone who holds my breath a lot.
I know that’s a weird thing to notice about yourself, but it’s true.
And, to be honest, I think holding my breath so much is one of the biggest components of why I get anxious at times.
If you read my article about the time I fainted on a plane, you’ll know that my anxiety started going up after this event, because I started to have this profound fear about fainting.
Well, guess what happens when you hold your breath?
You guessed it: you get dizzy…
Dizziness or any feeling of being a little off balance is a huge trigger for me. It sends me into this irrational tailspin of thinking I’m about to faint.
When I’m in silence, it’s so much easier for me to realize I’m not breathing…
Well, I’m breathing (obviously), but it’s usually short little gulps of air. I don’t breathe those big, deep, refreshing breaths that I think we all need more of.
Even if you don’t have a profound fear about fainting like I do, take some time to notice your breathing. There’s a good reason why breath is such an important component of yoga, and why yoga is considered a very relaxing practice.
Hearing yourself breathe can be life changing (again, sounds cheesy, but I really think focusing on breath could change things for a lot of people, especially those who tend to get anxious).
3) You’re in control of your environment
One thing I love about being alone and embracing silence is that you know you’re in control of any noises that you hear.
I mean, unless you have really noisy neighbours, or you’re in a construction zone, for the most part, you’re in charge of your environment.
If a sound is bugging you, you can usually remove it.
If you’re feeling like it’s too quiet, you can put on music.
You’re in control, and for me, being in control of my environment is not only empowering, I also find it freeing.
I know not everyone loves total silence the way I do, but I still think just an hour or two of total silence can be rejuvenating for everyone.
Of course, though, I obviously don’t think being alone for extended periods of time is a good thing for anyone’s mental health. Like I mentioned, I spent a lot of time by myself when I lived in Toronto, and it was NOT a good time in my life.
I’m extremely grateful to be surrounded by people, but one thing I will say is that when you do have some time to yourself, don’t be afraid to get quiet. You don’t need to put on the TV or throw on a podcast. You can embrace the silence.
Trust me, when you embrace silence, it makes a difference in how you feel.
Give it a try. Sit quietly with a book, write in a journal in a quiet room, or even just take a couple minutes to yourself in silence. Anytime you can embrace silence, I think you should go for it! It might sound too quiet at first, but the more you do this, the more you’ll start to see the benefits of silence.