What Five Minutes of Silence Can Do for Your Brain

The benefits of taking time out of the day to focus on well-being and lowering stress levels.

By Elisha Goldstein

In a past article, journalist Andrea Chalupa suggested everyone make a plan to take out 24 hours in solitude. She quotes her father, Dr. Leo Chalupa, saying that “A national day of absolute solitude would do more to improve the brains of all Americans than any other one-day program.” This might sound scary to some and intriguing to others, but have no fear, this is not going to happen. But what can happen?

Thomas Merton said, “Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.”

We are in an age where there is no solitude at all and if there were any we’d grab for our phones to make sure there wasn’t any. Whether you’re in the camp who believes it our not, the pace at which we live our lives and the amount of things we try to pay attention to at once are major recipes for stress, anxiety, depression, and addictive behaviors.

Spending time in solitude is actually a very healthy thing to do—it gives us an opportunity to balance the busyness. It’s not only a mindful act, but a self-compassionate act too. Furthermore, the more balanced you are, the better you’ll rub off on others, so maybe consider it’s something that might even make the world a a little bit better.

So what if we took her proposal to heart, but scaled it back a bit? How about starting with five minutes of solitude per day? Maybe we can even scale it to two sessions of five minutes a day at some point? Why even consider this?

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