How do I stop the chatter? Discovering the sounds of silence

The need to carve out the time for silence in your life is essential to your mental and physical health.

Mother Nature's personal playground. (Wikipedia entry on Plitvice Lakes, CC 2.0)

WASHINGTON, August 22, 2017 – What is all too rare in modern life is silence. Quieting the mind is not easily accomplished in today’s hectic and chaotic world. From the constant din of street noise outside to the incessant hip-hop and outdated disco-style music that blares in stores, restaurants and even in outside space, the din never seems to cease. Plus, there’s always self-talk, that dialogue that constantly goes on inside our heads.

All this noise has an incredible impact on your health, one that you can no longer ignore. So how do I stop the noise? How do I stop the chatter?

The answer is… drum roll… you don’t. But I have some tips that will help you quiet the noise to a great extent.

Cultivating and sustaining real silence, the kind that facilitates clear and creative thinking, quiets both inner and outer chatter.

We know you can’t simply turn off your mind’s chatter or “self-talk.” But the need to carve out the time – during which you turn off all electronics and provide some space where the busyness of the world stops for a few minutes – is essential to your mental and physical health. Even machines stop on a regular basis for maintenance. Otherwise they can’t run with optimum performance.

Recent studies show that deliberately taking time out for silence restores the nervous system and helps sustain energy. Silence allows our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the frenzied world in which we typically live and work.

Duke University Medical Center’s Imke Kirste, who has expertise in cardiology, neurology and cell biology, found that silence is associated with the development of new cells in the hippocampus, the key brain region associated with learning and memory.

Research by physician Luciano Bernardi found that two minutes of silence inserted between musical pieces proved more stabilizing to cardiovascular and respiratory systems than music categorized as “relaxing.”

Although it is not definitively proven as of yet, it is thought that the disadvantages of noise and distraction associated with open office plans outweighed benefits originally sought by such arrangements, which included increasing employee morale and gaining productivity boosts from unplanned, creative interactions.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Hal Gregersen writes that cultivating silence, “Increases your chances of encountering novel ideas and information and discerning weak signals.” This is because when we are constantly fixated on the verbal agenda, such as what to say next, what to tweet next and what to write next, it is difficult to make room or open the space for new ideas and different perspectives. Your head is filled with noise or chatter. This makes it difficult for anyone to listen deeply or focus attention, making it difficult to access the space where creativity and novel ideas are found.

Here are several tips to calm or quiet both your inner and outer chatter. Notice that you may be stepping out of your comfort zone of “noise” if you try to follow these tips, because today’s constantly noisy environment is what most of us are used to. But what’s uncomfortable today will become more comfortable over time.

  • Be aware that when you are going through any type of change or transition, the inner chatter gets louder and faster, as if it has accelerated into turbo speed. This can have an impact on your expected outcome.
  • Where you can, turn off your television or phone for several hours. You will benefit by resting the parts of the mind associated with work obligations, social media, and the news.
  • You cannot turn off your inner chatter. Don’t try to push it away. It will become the “pink elephant” in the room. Simply notice it, experience whatever you are feeling, and then take a productive step forward.
  • For example, if you notice you are having a negative thought, reframe what you are thinking into something that’s actually productive. This will shift your energy and actually change the brain at a cellular level.
  • It is possible for anyone to take five minutes of quiet time during the day. Close the door to your office, step outside into nature, and hit your Reset button by engaging in five minutes of a silent practice like meditation or reflection.
  • Meditation mini-silent retreat: For those who are willing, a short mini retreat can result in deeper listening and awakening your intuition. Your breathing can slow down and open the door for your brain to move away from the abstract to the tangible.

Final tip: Whatever is going on in your life, remember that silence is golden.

For more Information Contact:

Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC

Certified Business, Life & Career Coach Focusing on Confidence & Resilience Strategies and Transition
Certified Mediator301-706-7226 & 703-574-0039
[email protected]!/susan.samakow

Twitter: @SelfTalkCoach

Ask Susan about her coaching packages and the Stress Reducing techniques she teaches: EFT (Tapping) and Breathing Exercises.


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