Silence and inner stillness are blessings in my life. Today I want to talk about how being still and silent can help relieve tension and anxiety, and really just makes things better overall.
The other night I could not fall asleep. I was tired when I went to bed, but wide awake once I turned the lights out. Sleep didn’t come till after 2 am. I was antsy and kept having a lot of negative thoughts.
After laying there for awhile I went to the bathroom. I looked out the window. It was a full moon and the light cast beautiful shadows off the trees. It looked absolutely heavenly.
I was overcome with gratitude to gaze upon such beauty and stillness. I just stood there looking out, taking slow, conscious breaths. This righted me. It was so pleasant. I felt the peace and stillness of that beautiful moonlit scene.
After that sign from the heavens that all is well, I climbed back into bed, regrouped and read helpful things on my iPad until my lids got heavy.
I am grateful for the gifts of silence and stillness.
This past year, more than ever, I am experiencing the immense value of having the ability to hold my tongue- something I could never do in the past. However, I am doing it in a peaceful way, not in a bitchy ‘silent treatment’ kind of way.
Whether it’s someone irritating at work, or when my husband says something that triggers me, I can be silent and let the irritation or trigger just be. I don’t have to add to it with a reactive comment or giving someone ‘the look.’ I can give it some space.
The beauty of using silence is the situation quickly dissipates. It is so very helpful to act this way! 🙂
What follows are some recent examples where using Silence made things better…
Silence Takes the Wind out of a Potential Argument
Yesterday morning my husband and I were both up early. I wanted to show him an article online that I thought would be helpful for him for a project he is doing. His response was to get angry and scold me.
I didn’t say anything. I maintained my silence and didn’t argue back.
My pattern for years was to give it right back to him.
After all, here I am being all nice and showing him an article to help him and he becomes an angry jerk in response.
But is he really being a jerk to me?
Can I absolutely know that’s accurate?
No, I can’t.
Because of the grace of silence, I could understand that he was hurting. He is very nervous because he had a bad year at work and is worried of what the future holds for him at his company. The article I had him read was advice for a new project he is doing (his plan is to turn this project into his next career).
While my intention was good, he became overwhelmed because it hit that nerve in him where he is worried about his job. Anything related to work can set him off.
And in that space I could feel compassion for him. He lost his job 3 years ago, and now this one is looking dismal as well. As a man and provider I cannot fathom how hard it must be for him.
So I was able to realize he was lost in his own negative thoughts and I also recognized his reaction wasn’t personal. He wasn’t trying to be mean. He was scared.
I made a neutral comment to him, because I wanted to be clear. I said something along the lines of, Listen this is not important. I am not trying to tell you what to do. I just saw this and it came to me to share it with you. That’s all.
And then a few minutes later he apologized. It was a heartfelt apology. You must know that he never apologizes. It is almost unheard of.
And over this past year, this kind of scene has played out more than a few times- where he is reactive at me with anger and I don’t defend back.
All because I am no longer arguing. I am doing my best to be still and as peaceful as I can. I am not engaging in reactive arguing. I cannot tell you what a gift and blessing this has been to me!
Silence On the Way to Work
One of the best little things I have incorporated into my morning routine is to sit for a few minutes in silent meditation.
Sometimes though – and thankfully not nearly as often as in years past- I experience having anxiety before work. When I notice during my commute that I am anxious, I turn off the CD I am listening to and just drive in silence.
In the silent car, I take in all the sights and sounds of the beautiful drive in to work. I love looking at the sky and the trees and the early morning light. I will say a prayer of gratitude or do positive affirmations to get myself rooted back in the present.
It is very helpful in reducing anxiety! And so nice to walk into work after nipping anxiety in the bud!
Using Silence at Work- Staying out of the Crossfire
A few weeks ago we had an extremely busy day on our unit. There were a ton of surgeries and so in my post anesthesia unit, we had patient after patient coming in to us. We were slamming, and it was real intense.
My coworker Mary got overwhelmed. Which was completely understandable. All at once she became very irritable and short tempered.
I just kept my head down and took care of my patients without engaging her or feeding into her mood. I stayed focused on my patients and outside of the drama unfolding around me.
Once the day was over, her sweet personality came back. But she had made a few enemies that day, from being short tempered with other staff members.
By keeping to myself and not being a part of it, I was able to somehow rise above it. If that makes any sense.
I know if that day had happened even a year ago, I would have gotten into a verbal altercation with her. Reacting to another person’s anger has always fueled my own anger. I guess that’s what they mean when they say bad feelings are contagious.
But by maintaining some stillness within and silently going about my work, I was not pulled into the fray.
So to have made it through that day unscathed and without butting heads with Mary was a real win.
Letting the Loud Girl Have Her Say
There’s a girl I work with who is very LOUD. She talks loud and has something to say about everything. She used to irritate the hell out of me. But since becoming more still and silent, I find I can tolerated her better and feel much less reactive around her.
When we’re in the lunchroom and she is going on and on about what she thinks about this or that political figure, I am no longer compelled to chime in with my opinion. Or cringe inside and leave the room. I just let her talk. Pretty soon she runs out of air.
And I find I no longer dislike her. I actually do like her and can see that she is friendly and funny.
Pausing or taking time to respond lets us see clearly what’s happening, it gives us the opportunity to view the situation differently – from the other’s perspective or to think of the good in the other person. It lets compassion seep in. –Source
In closing, I am very grateful to have learned to be still, to be silent. That sometimes in the midst of chaos, I have the grace to be silent. To observe and listen and really take in what is going on around me. I am grateful for the compassion this has given me and the lessons I am learning from it.
Do you ever wish you didn’t react out loud when you feel provoked or irritated? Can you see how silence can help serve you in your life and in your relationships?
Leave a comment and let’s chat!
I wish you peace,
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