#1 You stay centered
There can be so many stresses in daily life, that sometimes, you can just get set off by the tiniest things.
Things like someone being rude to you on the way to office, your kid throwing a tantrum after a long day, can get to the best of us. More than ‘keeping it together’, or ‘not losing it’ in front of people, it’s important to stay calm in these moments and bring ourselves to our center- the normal state we were in previously.
Practising quiet time helps me to better recall that state of peace, when things around me are stressful.
#2 Get Comfortable Being With Yourself(and ultimately others as well)
Almost everyone I know gets REALLY uncomfortable when they have to hang out with themselves.
Colleagues from work, friends from school- all of them try and fill their non-working hours on the weekdays and weekends with distractions- going to pubs, meeting up, going for lunches, parties and whatnot.
Don’t get me wrong- there’s a need for all, or at least some of the above in everyone’s lives.
But the thing that I’m talking about is looking to fill your time with other people/ Netflix/Youtube/ Facebook… because you can’t bear to spend time with yourself.
Being comfortable with being alone is one of the biggest positives you’ll get out of spending some quiet time.
#3 Lower Social Anxiety
In continuation to the above point, getting comfortable with yourself is the first step to being comfortable in social scenarios.
Think about it- when was the last time you said/did something in a social setting that you wish you could’ve done differently?
Maybe you made an insensitive joke, or got nervous before an important client meet- whatever it was, if you really think about it, the root cause would be because something made you uncomfortable.
In other words, something took you off center.
#4 Heightened sensitivity
Studies show that the more you spend time meditating or being in the quiet, the more your sensory organs awaken.
This makes sense, even without looking at a research because- and this is a fact- we are overwhelmed by stimuli on a daily basis.
Our phones keep buzzing all day, we’re always on the move, we’re much more impatient than any other generation.
A good example to showcase this is the fact that millenials find songs from the 70’s and 60’s slow, while people from that era find today’s songs too fast paced.
There even is a whole diet around this principle called the Yamaguchi diet- which basically asks you to eat with your blindfold on, in order to heighten the taste and other senses. This way, you stop eating exactly when you are full, and not a morsel more.
#5 Reduces insomnia
Another bane of being plugged in at all times, is that it takes some people really long to unwind and go to sleep.
So how do you stop your mind from buzzing at 60,000 miles an hour at 10 pm?
A good way is to start unwinding a few hours before. Instate a no-electronics rule for yourself 3 hours before bedtime and slow things down for yourself.
Enjoy a glass of wine, read a book and drift off to sleep with ease.
#6 Sharpens memory
Isn’t it common sense that when you’re not distracted, your brain works better and so does your memory?
Recent research on this topic also says the same thing.
#7 Tap into deeper parts of the brain and improve creativity
This was something I came across when doing a quick research for this post. Who knew that quiet time can make you more creative?
The science behind this says that you can tap into the ‘flow’ state of your brain by practicing silence everyday. This state is the one where our mind can take creative leaps and bring insights that wouldn’t have come to us otherwise.
Lot of famous inventors used to do this. I once read about Nikola Tesla, who, when stuck on a problem, would sit quietly, by the fireside, with a ball in his hand. Eventually, he would doze off and soon as his hand slipped the sound of the ball falling onto the floor would rouse him.
More than just rouse, he would wake up inspired, quickly get to work and make progress on whatever problem he was struggling with earlier.
While he clearly was someone who was more advanced at tapping into the deep recesses of his brain than others, it just goes to show how powerful it can be- however you choose to get there- silence, meditation, sleeping on it, and whatnot.
#8 Regenerates brain cells
Recent research has also pointed out that silence provides a much needed respite to the brain and enables cell growth.
If only mom had told me about this earlier, I would’ve listened to her as a kid when she would ask me to ‘play the quiet game’.
#9 Develop better emotional control over yourself
The thing I realised for myself is that when I started spending more time with myself just thinking and introspecting, I could pinpoint the reason for my emotional issues.
During days when I am just not feeling completely right but I can’t pinpoint what it’s about, I just sit before bedtime and review the entire day from the time I got up.
I go through everything I did, and usually I am able to pinpoint what happened that is now causing me distress.
Once I know the what, step 2 is to find out the why. Honestly speaking, I don’t know how to execute step 2.
But I just know that when you get really quiet in your mind, the answer comes, sooner than later.
#10 You’ll become kinder
This one has been talked about for quite some time.
Buddhist monks, for instance, are known for their kindness compassion and humility.
Only recently have scientists started studying them to understand the science behind their happiness.
And while there are no conclusive results, it is well documented that the more quiet time you spend, the more compassionate you become.
#11 Decrease bodily tension
Funny thing happens when you practice quietude- it feels like turn off weight is being lifted off your body.
This happens to me every time I sit down to meditate. And I am not regular at it, by the way.
Like almost everyone else, I have a demanding corporate job, I run my blog on the side, and I also freelance. Sometimes, I may not even realise that I am stressed out.
Still, whenever I sit down to meditate, or just sit in silence, it always feels like a ton of weight is being lifted off my head, but also the rest of my body lightens up.
#12 Improves Focus- Get your work done
I work in an open floor office and at times the constant chatter can get really distracting.
In fact I find myself working out of a closed booth in the office when I am doing something really crucial.
A cool thing that I did recently was to buy a pair of noise blocking earphones.
It’s amazing how much my productivity improved over the last couple of weeks just by a small, inexpensive purchase on Amazon.
#13 Make better decisions
There are two types of decisions we make- long term and short term. Long term decisions are well thought out and follow a logical process. For instance, what college you should go to, which company should you join, etc.
Short term decisions are those that you make in a fraction of a second on a daily basis . For instance, you get to know that your boss has decided not to promote you- how do you choose to react in that moment?
Your romantic partner asks you a tricky question about the future and puts you on the spot- do you tell the truth or fib your way out of it?
These instantaneous decisions are the ones where most people make errors at.
Over the years I’ve realised that the key to making good split-second decisions, is the ability to slow things down. If you are able to slow things down, you are able to think clearly in the tiny amount of time you have and come to a better decision.
This all comes back to the feeling of being centred I spoke about earlier and how quickly you can regain it.
#14 Develop self awareness
This is in continuation to the point about emotional control. I realised that just spending time with myself, and actually thinking about things that are bothering me- people relationships career etc- was what, over time made me self aware.
After all, what is self awareness, but being in constant touch of your own feelings and their root cause? If you know this much, you know yourself.
#15 Become more patient
We are impatient when we are stressed or irritated. I mean, when was the last time you were happy and impatient?
It’s always a situation like you are working from home because you are sick, you have a ton of errands, and on top of that, your child is crying for your attention.
Now THAT’s situation where you may be impatient, irritable or might lose your cool.
But if you are good in your head, your mind- it will all go through you the same way, whether it’s a good thing that’s happening or a bad thing.
That what practicing quietude gives you.
#16 Gain perspective
Garyvee always says gratitude is the fuel to his positivity, and the reason he has so much gratitude is because he has perspective.
The perspective that if you have the health and wellness for yourself and the closest 9 people to you, then anything bad that happens, doesn’t really matter.
For me, it is about the fact that I have a healthy body and mind, that I don’t have to worry about where the next meal is going to come from, and so many other really really basic things that the majority of people on this earth consider luxuries.
When you spend some quiet time and reflect on the things that you do have, instead of what you don’t- you gain perspective.
#17 You’ll live in the moment and be less distracted
A lot of people (myself included) are so focused on the next step- the next career move relationship, next house, next car, and so many other things that they just forget to sit back once in a while and smell the roses.
I am not saying that you should be doing one or the other thing more, all I am saying is that there should be a balance.
After all, if you are not in the moment, not enjoying the day to day grind of your job, relationship, whatever this may apply to- then what’s the point of it?
#18 Improve your relationships drastically
One of the first times I met my girlfriend, she and I spent close to a half an hour just sitting together, while listening to some soft, live music.
She later told me that that was one of the biggest things that interested her about me- I was a stranger to her at that point and yet she and I felt comfortable enough to spend time together not talking to each other.
That’s when I realised that the age old cliche of couples spending quality time around each other while staying silent was true. In fact, we regularly practise that now- just be around each other and do our own thing.
This is something I would definitely recommend you do with your partner, or even a close friend for that matter
#19 Communicate better
I can’t describe how much my relationships have improved as I have become more and more clear on social dynamics.
A lot of people out there are like me, who don’t have an instinct for knowing the pulse in a social setting.
However, over time, simply by putting myself into these scenarios more and more, and at the same time, spending some time post that analysing it is what helps.
Just going very quiet and analysing how the evening went, helps me form a feedback loop in my mind, where I can now identify and take out the things that I did not like and over time, improve on them.
#20 Decreases stress
So many studies are now finding out that spending some quiet time actually lowers blood pressure in high BP patients, and also lowers indicators of heart disease.
Basically, if you have a stress related illness, there is enough mounting evidence to start practicing silence TODAY.
#21 Become disciplined
Do you know how hard it is to stay quiet for 20 minutes everyday?
I know a lot of people who would shiver at this thought. I know I did when I first started meditating.
But you know what?
Just imagine the amount of discipline you will learn, when you are six months in, and have crossed the art of quietude.
And discipline is one thing that carries over into others spheres of life. If you were a disciplined students who got up at 4 every morning to study before class, chances are you will be a hard working executive at your company who gets more stuff done, and is ultimately more successful than 99% of their peers.
#22 You won’t waste your energy
Since you are not distracted easily, you don’t waste your energy on unnecessary things. you realise importance of prioritising and you choose to expend your energy only on the things that matter.
#23 You live like you were supposed to
Can you imagine the life of a shepherd 200 years ago?
His life looked something like this:
Get up in the morning, put the sheep out to graze. Then watch them all day and come back at night to eat and sleep.
Rinse and repeat for the rest of his life. In fact, there are a lot of rural communities doing exactly this today.
This is how we used to live too, but us modern day city folks cannot imagine a life that would be so… boring.
I, for one, think I would go crazy without my smartphone on me for even a day.
While it may not be practical for everyone to go live like a shepherd, we can at least achieve that same level of quietude for a few minutes everyday, and live like we used to.