The holiday season creates A LOT of noise. Everywhere you go you are inundated with the sounds, smells, visuals and STUFF of “the most wonderful time of the year.” The chaotic energy is overwhelming. So much so that 38% of people attest to their stress increasing during the holiday season, leading to a wide variety of ailments including physical illness, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse/misuse (American Psychological Association).
To combat the outside influences that can lead to burnout and exhaustion this time of year or any time of year, give yourself the gift of SILENCE. This necessary respite is just what the doctor ordered to calm yourself and come back to center when things feel (and your mind becomes) hectic.
Sure, you say… that sounds good in theory, but what’s the point if I can’t completely turn my brain off? Let me tell you:
Sitting in silence is scary and difficult. We are hard wired to reach for a device or dive into a conversation that makes us feel comfortable. In silence our brains often race the most, taking us to places that we can usually avoid through outside “chatter.” But please remember: the more challenging it is to find the silence, the more indicative it is of the fact that you need it. Trust the process.
How you ask?
- Start by creating realistic expectations with your silence. Know that your brain will be making the grocery list, running through your work to-dos, or even visiting situations/memories that you would rather avoid all together. This is okay! Don’t resist them. When we first begin to explore the power of silence, it gives space for everything to come up. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It is a bit like cleaning out your closet. It may feel louder and messier before you begin to feel the benefits and gifts waiting for you in the silence. Simply and gently acknowledge them and then let them go like a breeze coming in one window and gently going out the other.
- Focus on your breath. How many times have we heard this? Focusing on breath is the main way to stay present to your silence. Just breathe. Notice what happens in your body with a deep inhale and a completely full exhale…..from your belly.
- Understand that allowing silence is a skill that takes time to build. Show yourself some grace. Maybe you start with ten minutes and your brain is ping-ponging the entire time. Well done! You took the first step to create more space for yourself! That’s a win!
- Commit to the practice. Some amount of Silence each day provides the space needed to reflect, connect with yourself and most importantly to uncover and tap into those parts of you that are calling to be known. Overtime you will witness your brain chatter becoming less pronounced and your breath becoming deeper and more powerful. Set a three-month goal and see it through. You’ll thank me later.
Silence to a congested mind and soul is like Vicks Vapor Rub to a congested chest. The journey into Silence will take you from a cacophony of congested sound (often negative self-talk) to a place of deeper connection with your heart and from your heart. It is where compassion, healing, and kindness for ourselves and others live. Silence opens you up, allowing you to live an inside-out life, even in the most chaotic of times. Find your center through silence this holiday season and beyond. Notice the noise subside and your ability to be fully present amplified. Feel the relief and power. Breathe.