“We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly – spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.” – Susan L. Taylor
Let’s face it. There’s a lot of noise and distraction in the world. Sometimes, the din is so loud and the interruptions so many and varied that it’s tough to tend to what’s necessary and right, much less what is desired. The yearning for peace and quiet, however, has more significance than just taking a well-deserved break. It’s an important and integral part of growth, renewal and joy of living.
But making the time to find comfort in solitude and silence is often seen as an unaffordable luxury. After all, if you’re off being quiet and reflecting, you’re not accomplishing anything, right?
This is the wrong way to look at the situation. When you’re quiet and engaging in self-reflection, you’re doing something much more profound and that is helping to establish a cadence and priority, finding that life-affirming spark of enthusiasm and coaxing it into a fire that motivates and inspires you to act.
Why does anyone need quiet time? How do you prepare for it? What do you do to nurture it? How do you ensure there’s time in your schedule to accommodate your need for self-reflection? Here are some thoughts.
1. You need to rest to renew.
It’s humanly impossible to just keep going without ever stopping to rest. Even machines need downtime for repairs and maintenance. The human body is no different, with the exception that the mind often tries to influence continued action at the expense of physical, emotional and spiritual needs. You need quiet time, that uninterrupted silence that is so elusive and prized, to rest and renew.
2. Quiet time helps you discover what’s important.
When you’re constantly doing things, caught up in the whirlwind of the moment, you may tend to forget or ignore what’s important. By involving yourself in too many activities, taking on too much or spending time on unnecessary and time-wasting projects and tasks, you’re losing sight of what matters most. You need quiet time to rediscover what you’ve neglected and to discover what is most important to you if you’ve never done so.
3. When it’s quiet, you can make order out of chaos.
When you’re deep in a flurry of activity is no time to prioritize tasks. You’re too busy working on making progress. The time to examine your reasons for what you’re doing and to figure out some semblance of order that works for you is during times of quiet self-reflection.
4. There’s grace and spiritual renewal in quiet time.
All the negatives attendant in everyday life can overshadow the good and positive that co-exist. You need quiet time to allow grace to suffuse you and your spirit to renew itself in those golden moments of quiet introspection. Savor the silence. Allow your thoughts to wander where they will and then draw back your attention to your center. This is the core of mindfulness meditation.
5. Quiet time reinforces your sense of place in the universe.
Since you are human and not a machine, you can put things into perspective. This is difficult when you’re crashing to meet a deadline or attempting to multitask. You need quiet time to do that. It’s now when you’re able to think about where you are in the universe, to discover your purpose and find meaning in what you are fully capable of doing in this lifetime.
6. Reduce stress with regular quiet time.
If you cannot escape stress, you can certainly do something to mitigate it. One quick and straightforward way to reduce stress is to carve out 10-15 minutes regularly to sit quietly, meditate, listen to music, go for a peaceful walk, take a brief nap. If you have longer, perhaps on your lunch break, you can extend your quiet time. The point isn’t how long you’re quiet, but that you give quiet time its proper place in your life. There’s no easier way to nourish your body and soul. A bonus is that you return to the task at hand at work, home or school energized and more focused.
7. Quiet time helps you heal.
It’s no coincidence that caretakers and medical professionals encourage a darkened, quiet room for patients in recovery from surgery, illness or other chronic conditions that require constant management. Healing takes time and the body needs complete rest to jumpstart this process. Emotional wounds from anxiety and depression similarly benefit from quiet time. In a fast-pace world, stepping off the treadmill — as is necessary when sick or recuperating from serious illness — and allowing the quiet to envelope you are basic components in the overall healing process.