How to find peace and silence in the everyday chaos: 5 tips to make it happen!
It was dinner time and I was overwhelmed. We’d been running around like crazy for the past four days and my to-do list sat neglected and growing ever longer. This was my first evening free in a while and I was anxious to tackle some tasks that loomed undone.The thought of putting a few checks next to some items on my to-do list was exciting.
I longed for those check marks to bring peace to my frantic soul.
Then I remembered it was yoga night.
And I remembered what I’ve been learning about bringing silence into my day and life.
About how true peace comes from quieting my soul, paying attention to my body, being in the present moment, and, as a Christian, connecting with God.
And that striving and accomplishing rarely bring rest.
What I needed that evening was peace, rest, quiet, and silence. Not check marks.
So, I took the hour to practice yoga and basked in the silence that rejuvenated my soul and quieted the static noise and frenetic energy my life had created.
Intentionally choosing to quiet my mind, body, and soul brought me to a place where I could then fulfill my responsibilities and tasks with renewed energy and a proper perspective.
Over the past months I’ve been learning to invite silence into my day as a way of slowing down life to a manageable pace and allowing myself the space to pay attention to what’s really going on in my mind, body, and soul.
This has impacted all areas of my life and brought a level of peace to myself, my family, and my life, something I’ve wanted and knew I needed but hadn’t before been able to achieve through time and life management techniques.
While I am no expert at this, I have found these simple practices to be hugely helpful in inviting silence into my day and peace into my life.
1. Slow your body
As a mom of three young kids, I rarely sit down. There’s always something to be done and I run circles around our house doing all the things.
My mind and soul take on the same restless pace as my body and all of me is going a million miles an hour, a speed none of me is meant to function at.
So now I stop, sit down, and do nothing. Sometimes it’s for a few minutes, sometimes a few seconds, and I’m working towards making it longer.
Chaos might still reign around me but by sitting down, or even simply moving at a slower pace, I can silent my body and pay attention to my thoughts and feelings, savor my kids playing around me, find things to be grateful for, or pray. I can do these things as I go about my day but it’s easier when I create a silent space that allows room for these positive thoughts.
Slowing your body might look very different from just simply sitting down. It might be choosing to walk somewhere instead of driving. Or practicing yoga. Or sitting down to eat all your meals. However it might look for you, find a way to stop, rest, and let stillness and silence into your body.
2. Turn off background noise
I love to have some form of sound going on around me whether it’s music, other people talking, or even my kids watching a (not annoying) movie.
But sometimes it’s just more noise on top of the noise in my frantic mind and that’s when I know it’s time to turn everything off or go somewhere else and embrace silence.
When something’s bothering me I find it easier to process what’s going on when I don’t have background noise. It’s easier to tune into myself, pray about it, and get to the heart of what’s going on and then know how to deal with it. The airwaves are clear of distractions and only taken up by my thoughts and I am free to focus on them.
Most of life is noisy so getting away from it isn’t always doable. And total silence can take some getting used to! But even just a few minutes of silence can make a world of difference to your mental state. Find it when and where you can and let it nourish you.
3. Shush your devices
I’d be enjoying some quiet, slow paced silence and then my phone would ding.
Silence = over.
I wasn’t sure how I wanted to handle this form of sabotage and then Andrea’s post came out, 7 Ways to Embrace Minimalism in Your Online Life, and it inspired me to make some changes. I set my phone to only make sound for texts and calls and my tablet vibrates for emails (because sometimes I do need to deal with them right away). And when I really need uninterrupted silence, I turn off both.
In whatever way you can, make your devices quieter. Decide what you need to be aware of right away and what can wait until you look at your device next. Or, as Andrea suggests, just turn it off for a designated period each day and enjoy the silence.
4. Limit to-dos and say ‘no’
As an INFJ and Enneagram One I live and die by to-do lists. I have multiple written lists going and you don’t even want to know how long my mental to-do is. All I can say is it has never once gotten any shorter, no matter how much I accomplish.
I’ve come to realize these lists add so much static noise to my life. To combat that I’ve had to say ‘no’ to a lot of things in my life, even some things I really enjoy, so I could keep my to-do list to a reasonable length. Doing this has freed up space in my day to slow down and actually practice the things I’m talking about here.
What can you say ‘no’ to? What’s something that you used to really enjoy but has become just one more thing you have to get done? What activity is adding noise to your life?
5. Pray and meditate
The most effective way to bring bring silence to all parts of my being is through prayer. By spending time with God, whether talking, listening, or simply focusing on his presence, my mind, body, and soul find the quiet and peace they crave.
Prayer reminds me that I don’t have to carry the burdens of life alone, that I am loved by God, that I can have faith in someone infinitely wiser and stronger than myself. Prayer reminds me of who I am and what I am called to do. And I find rest in that.
Other Red and Honey posts to help you invite silence into your day:
Creating Margin in Your Life