Quiet time: sanity relief for our hyper-busy lives

You need to get beyond the online social noise.

To unplug.

Generating quality creative work requires quiet and calm, something today is not easily achieved.

It’s not me saying that.
Famous authors and experienced doctors have all had strict practices for managing the information flow and cultivating periods of deep peace. Businesssmen, investors and celebrities, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tim Ferriss and Arianna Huffington have also described structured periods of silence as fundamental factors in their success.

We need real prolonged silence, for creative thinking and inner peace .

The kind of silence that promote deeper chains of thoughts, reflexion, and a journey into oneself, to pause from a modern obsession: having to think of what to say and how to express it.

From a research around the web, I found four practical ideas from an article on HBR by Justin Talbot-Zorn and Leigh Marz:

1) Punctuate meetings with five minutes of quiet time. If you’re able to close the office door, retreat to a park bench, or find another quiet hideaway, it’s possible to hit reset by engaging in a silent practice of meditation or reflection.

2) Take a silent afternoon in nature. You need not be a rugged outdoors type to ditch the phone and go for a simple two-or-three-hour jaunt in nature. In our own experience and those of many of our clients, immersion in nature can be the clearest option for improving creative thinking capacities. Henry David Thoreau went to the woods for a reason.

3) Go on a media fast. Turn off your email for several hours or even a full day, or try “fasting” from news and entertainment. While there may still be plenty of noise around—family, conversation, city sounds—you can enjoy real benefits by resting the parts of your mind associated with unending work obligations and tracking social media or current events.

4) Take the plunge and try a meditation retreat:  Even a short retreat is arguably the most straightforward way to turn toward deeper listening and awaken intuition. The journalist Andrew Sullivan recently described his experience at a silent retreat as “the ultimate detox.” As he put it: “My breathing slowed. My brain settled…It was if my brain were moving away from the abstract and the distant toward the tangible and the near.”

The authors go on writing that  “time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work, and lead. New cells are created in the hippocampus, the key brain region associated with learning and memory. Physicians have found that even two-minutes silence intervals between musical pieces proved more stabilizing to cardiovascular and respiratory systems than even the music categorized as “relaxing.”

Thanks to this article for its insights. It’s getting harder and harder to stay in silence and rest in a hyperactive and hyper-reactive world, the world we’re living in. Sometimes it looks like a Blade Runner-ish scenario of sounds pollution, information overload and media feed distraction, and we all really desire to fly somewhere else or to take a deep dive into a big blue ocean lagoon.

Ain’t to be that hard, though: most of the times, it’s enough to turn your mobile upside down and switch off the volume, mute notifications, and depart for a short city break, a close nature getaway, spending time in a city park or in a nearby rustic place.


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