Humans are social beings, and therefore hardwired for communication. Add to that the “Always On” culture in which we live today and we are surrounded by the endless noise of daily life wherever we go. While this is all good most of the time, we need to make space in our day for some quiet time or risk being sucker-punched by stress or burnout.
This, however, is easier said than done as silence is something that people tend to fear or avoid. In some cases, we can also feel guilty during quiet times, as though we are forgetting or neglecting something and feel awkward when surrounded by silence.
Making space in your day for quiet time not only offers an opportunity for quiet reflection and increased self-awareness, but can also help to reduce stress, improve concentration, gain focus and gain mental clarity.
Personally, I set aside an hour every day for uninterrupted silence, preferably outside in a park or wooded area. For me, this opens up my senses to the outside world while blocking out temporarily the pressures and stresses of daily life. I stop to appreciate the sights, sounds and smells of nature, from the birds singing to the smell of freshly cut grass. and this helps me to relax and refocus. At the same time, I also become more self-aware through reflection which now comes naturally to me in these situations.
More often than not, I spend my quiet time in a park with a coffee, a good cigar and my Filofax in which I write down whatever is in my mind at the time, whether it be a song lyric, quote or simple musing. This later feeds into my journal entry for that particular day. Coffee and a good notebook are obvious companions in such an exercise, but why a cigar?!
One of my guilty pleasures, which I enjoy in moderation, is a good cigar. I usually save these for my quiet reflective moments, and enjoy pairing them with anything from coffee to whisky and experiencing the way in which the flavours compliment each other. My Instagram (@Christosmaximus82) profile documents the many combinations I have tried while deep in reflection. Most importantly, a cigar is enjoyed at a very leisurely pace. This encourages you to slow your racing thoughts and take some time to reflect on your day. With most of my cigars lasting an hour, I know that by the time I have finished it, my hour of quiet reflection is over and I can get on with my day refreshed and refocused.
Naturally, cigars are not for everyone. Neither is coffee or whisky, but these are all besides the point. These are just the treats which I enjoy during some of my quiet, reflective periods.
The best way to find out what works for you is to just set aside some time for uninterrupted silence in your day. It might feel a little odd at first, but you will soon get used to it. And when you do, you can also experiment with different quiet spaces, times and activities to discover what works for you.
I hope that this has given you some food for thought and if you are already doing this, feel free to share your experiences. Or, if you thinking of giving it a go, good luck and let us know how you get on.