You’re scrolling through emails and find a passive-aggressive note from your boss. Suddenly, your mind starts racing. Every negative interaction you’ve had with them streams into real-time, along with insecurities about your performance. You feel hurt, confused, and angry. It feels impossible to have a quiet mind.
You take a walk to clear your mind and spend a few minutes on your couch, deciding how to respond. But thinking about it is so laborious.
I know the feeling. Now, I can quiet the mind with a little help from my breath, but it wasn’t always that way. And forget about a quiet mind during times of stress. Even during times of planned rest, I’ve spent entire weekend getaways agonizing about my return to reality.
Meditation helped me understand what happens when your mind is silent. Now, I share it with eager learners in my Stillness to Success Course.
I want to help you approach every situation without the stress of heavy thoughts. Walk with me as I take you through what it means to have a delectably quiet mind.
Once you understand what happens when your mind is silent and how to get there, your thoughts won’t weigh you down. They’ll feel like feathers, fluttering softly with the wind before gracefully settling into the depths of your mind.
Restless vs. Restful States
Many of my clients wonder: is your brain supposed to be quiet? It’s hard to imagine silence amidst constant musings — so hard that the noise feels normal.
Neuroscientists Vago and Zeidan describe those relentless thoughts as a “restless mind,” characterized by:
- Unresolved challenges
- Spontaneous thoughts
- Intrusive memories
- Emotions about the past
- Hopes and fears about the future
Sound familiar? It’s not all bad – those same scholars propose some benefits to a restless mind like enhanced creativity and problem-solving. But overall, uncontrollable thoughts that bounce around in your mind distract you and stop you from focusing on important things.
What should your baseline be? I say a silent mind. But what is silent mind? Vago and Zeidan describe it as, a “restful state” where:
Your brain has stimulus-independent thought (SIT), also known as “task-unrelated thought.”
Meaning? Your mind isn’t influenced by the stimuli normally affecting your restless mind.
They also advocate for using mindful awareness to optimize your mind while in a restful state. Ugh, more mind work! Hang on a little longer – I promise you it’s worth it.
What Happens When Your Mind Is Silent?
A quiet mind unlocks profound freedom. From what exactly? Take a deep breath in and out and keep on reading.
1. You Have Better Judgment
Buddhist author Lama Yeshe distinguishes the Buddhist quiet mind from a simple state of silence. A silent, still mind isn’t closed-minded. It’s awakened and alert, watching the world from clear eyes that remove the stains of emotion, expectations, fear, or anxiety.
Have you ever made an important decision while stressed? Chances are, it wasn’t the best decision because you didn’t have enough mental clarity to consider all factors.
What happens when your mind is silent? You have the mental clarity to see every situation with precise accuracy. Imagine having a mental laser vision, cutting through all your intrusive thoughts and worries to shine a light on the world for what it is, nothing more and nothing less?
A fresh, accurate sense of judgment will stop you from giving up and help you approach every challenge with confidence.
And you’ll easily judge situations without thinking about the past.
2. You Let Go of the Past
Do you ever dwell on a past conversation, relationship, or painful experience? The past haunts us and has the power to feel like the present if we let it.
What happens when your mind stops its constant chatter? One of the best benefits of stillness is how easy it becomes to let go of the past. Of course, you won’t forget it; instead, you’ll acknowledge it and function without thinking about it so much.
So, you might naturally wonder how to calm your mind from overthinking about the past.
The first step is learning how to meditate. Only then will you experience a truly quiet mind. Meditation will also help you achieve more meaningful periods of rest, which brings us to our next point.
3. You’ll Savor Rest
Have you ever carved out a few hours for rest? Maybe it’s a Netflix binge to catch up on Yellowstone (guilty!) or an indulgent bubble bath with candles and wine.
Mind? Not so much.
Why is it that our minds won’t even let us enjoy times of rest? Instead of enjoying the moment, we brood over yesterday’s problems and worry about tomorrow’s uncertainty.
When your mind is silent, you’ll savor every moment of rest. Your mind will fight the urge to ruminate, and you’ll have enough control to focus on the moment.
I’m sure these benefits of a quiet mind sound great, right? But how can you actively work towards unlocking this mental peace?
An Easy Practice for Quieting Your Mind
Maybe you’re not quite comfortable with long meditation sessions yet, and that’s okay. Here’s a short and sweet breathing technique to calm your thoughts and quiet your mind.
Pursed Lips Breathing
- Sit cross-legged or on a chair where you can comfortably relax your shoulders and neck.
- With your mouth closed, slowly inhale through your nose for two seconds.
- Pucker your lips and let the air out slowly for four seconds.
- Repeat for a few minutes until you feel calm.
Try this simple exercise every day as you work up toward meditation. It’ll help reset your thoughts and bring you into a place of calm. Once there, you’ll feel clear-headed and focused.
Quiet the Mind with Stillness and Meditation
A silent mind is blissful. Making sound judgments, letting go of the past, and genuinely enjoying rest will make you unstoppable. Bottom line? A silent mind will bring you ultimate success.
But you might wonder how to quiet your mind chatter long enough to experience these benefits.
I’d be happy to help you get there. My Stillness to Success Course will show you what happens when your mind is silent. It’s helped many people find peace through stillness, equipping them with the tools to achieve balance and success in life.
You’re golden. Go ahead: respond to that email.
“The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”
- Marcus Aurelius