Practicing Silence throughout the Day

We have collected a number of ideas for integrating silence into your daily life. Our suggestions are by no means exhaustive, and we hope you will find your own ways to receive the gifts of silence. Some of these are more like precursors to silence, ways of setting the table so that you can feast in silence. Any of them, practiced regularly, can increase calm and decrease stress, enhance your creativity, raise your self-awareness, and help you to listen more fully to God, others, and yourself.

Turn off your devices. Set aside a block of time each day, preferably at the same time, when your cellphone, television, computer, tablets, gaming consoles, and other devices are off and set aside. It may be 10 minutes, a half-hour, or longer. Start small and increase the time.

Fast from social media. Get it out of your diet by unplugging from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and other similar platforms. Choose a day each week or some other interval of time that makes sense for you.

Block the news. Give yourself periods of time each day and week when you silence the newsfeed on your phone, set aside the newspaper, turn off radio and television news. Trust that if it’s important, you will hear about it.

Silence at the day’s beginning and ending. Spend 5-10 minutes sitting in silence after you wake and before you lay down to sleep. Be still. Notice your thoughts and feeling without judgement.

Intentions and Thanksgivings. Add some reflection at the end of your silence at the beginning and ending of each day. Consider setting an intention for the day after you wake. Consider identifying one thing from the day for which you are grateful before you sleep.

Mindful transitions. If you travel to work, use this time to be silent. Resist the urge to fill the time by turning on the radio, making phone calls, or listening to an audio book. Similarly, dedicate 10 minutes of your lunch break to silence perhaps while you walk outside.

Nature walk. Go on a nature walk alone or with a friend. Be silent and listen as you walk from one place to another. What sights, sounds, smells, and sensations are you aware of? What feelings emerge for you?

In all these practices of silence, notice what you see, hear, and sense. Pay attention to your inner and outer environment. Notice your feelings and thoughts without judging yourself. If you feel distracted, uncomfortable, irritable, or anxious; if your thoughts race or wander: gently and kindly bring your attention back to the present moment.

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