1. Bypassing Burnout
2. Heightened Sensitivity
3. Dissolving Tomorrow’s Troubles
Silence brings our awareness back to the present—where concrete happiness is experienced. Watts makes the distinction between our basic and ingenious consciousness; the latter makes predictions based on our memories, which seem so real to the mind that we’re caught in a hypothetical abstraction. It plans out our lives with an abstract happiness, but an abstract happiness is a very real disappointment.
The future falls short of what the present can deliver. Silence and solitude pulls us out and immerses us back in the present.
4. Improves Memory
Evolutionists explain that being in nature sparks our spatial memory as it did when our ancestors went hunting—remembering where the food and predators were was essential for survival. Taking a walk alone gives the brain uninterrupted focus and helps with memory consolidation.
5. Strengthens Intention & Action
Intentional silence puts us in a state of mental reflection and disengages our intellectual mind. At that point McGonigal says to ask yourself three questions:
- If anything were possible, what would I welcome or create in my life?
- When I’m feeling most courageous and inspired, what do I want to offer the world?
- When I’m honest about how I suffer, what do I want to make peace with?
6. Increases Self-Awareness
The visceral reaction of cussing at a loved one or over-disciplining our children often comes with regret. It happens when we’re completely governed by actions, and absent of reasonable thought.
Practice becoming an observer of your thoughts. The human will is strengthened whenever we choose not to respond to every actionable thought.
7. Grow Your Brain
8. “A-Ha” Moments
What’s typically seen as useless daydreaming is now being seen as an essential experience. Professor Jonathan Schooler from UC Santa Barbara says, “Daydreaming and boredom seem to be a source for incubation and creative discovery in the brain.”
9. Mastering Discomfort
10. Emotional Cleansing
Strategies to release emotional turbulence include sitting in silence and thinking in detail about what triggered the negative emotion. The key is to do so as an observer—stepping outside of yourself as if you’re reporting for a newspaper. It’s a visualization technique used by psychotherapists to detach a person from their emotions, which allows you to process an experience objectively and rationally.