By Mikayla Anding
Web Content Contributor
“If you cannot be in a silent room for an hour by yourself, there’s a problem.” Tough words. I’ve heard this phrase a few times when talking with my friends about giving ourselves time to rest and a break from the busyness we have become so accustomed to. In this day and age, we are consumed by constant entertainment, tasks to get done, and other distractions pulling us every which way. But what if we take the time to be silently resting instead?
Mental health is always a hot topic in our culture, and the ideas of spending less time on social media or taking baths are the constant tips being shared. But the real route of our constant anxieties could be the fact that we never take the time to just be. What I like to tell others and remind myself is that we are human beings, not human doings.
Noise, among other factors, could be responsible for the confirmed higher risk of individuals living in urban areas to develop mental disorders, like schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety, as compared to residents in rural areas. When our minds are constantly being filled with noise and activity, we never get the chance to think on our own, process what we need to, or have time to focus on the present.
It’s important to recognize the parts of our day that can be used to rest our minds rather than fill it with more noise that when it is time to watch, hear or learn something, we have more of the mental capacity to do so. It’s better to take in moments of silence throughout our days so we can be mentally rested for the times that matter. So below are a few moments in our day that can be used as times of silence and reflection.
I know we all enjoy a good youtube video while we’re eating dinner, but I have personally found it so helpful to use this time to just sit and think as I eat. My focus on other things is so much better after because I had that time to mentally recharge. You don’t have to focus on anything, just putting food in your mouth, which is one of the most mindless acts we do.
Listening to music or podcasts may be something we all do as we’re putting away our laundry, doing the dishes, or cleaning the kitchen. But doing chores is one of the best times to think or just let your mind wander and rest. It’s the simple things that we do consistently that are always great to embrace silence.
Doing something creative
This is definitely something already talked about when discussing mental health, but doing so without any music, videos, or anything playing is what I encourage. Doing something creative is restful for a lot of people, and it can be an outlet during times of stress or trouble.
While I enjoy doing something creative with music in the background, I always feel more rested after doing so without anything in the background. This way, I can either just focus on what I’m doing or just enjoy it while my mind wanders where it wants or needs to.
Walking on campus
Enjoy the views of our beautiful campus instead of texting while you’re walking to class! This allows you to let your mind relax before taking in so much information presented by your professor. It’s a good mental reset before learning subjects relevant to your future.
Embracing silence does not just mean sitting in your room by yourself and doing nothing. Silence is just limiting the amount of noise and distractions we bring to ourselves throughout our days so that we may have more mental clarity which can affect our focus and our mental health. I would challenge everyone to just take one of these moments in their day to eliminate noise and see if it makes a difference. I bet it will.
Featured Image by Mikayla Anding