Martha Beck explains why a daily period of mental silence is important to your mental health.
A daily period of mental silence is so important for a woman’s mental health because the part of the brain that tells stories is the part of the brain that gets us stuck in anxiety or anger or regret and all the difficult things that causes stress.
Now a period of mindful silence actually turns off the verbal part of the brain so that we lose those stories of fear and we are able to restore our brains and bodies to a sort of homeostasis of rest and relax instead of fight, flight or freeze.
So I like to do this little exercise to help sort of trigger the brain to do that. It’s mindful silence but with just a little bit extra, I call it sense drenching.
So what I want you to do as you are watching this is first, think of three things you love to taste. So maybe chocolate and strawberries and fresh baked bread, okay? Imagine all those tastes at once.
Now think of three things you love to hear. So the ocean, children laughing, music. Imagine that you are tasting your favorite tastes while listening to your favorite sounds.
Now list three things you love to smell – coffee, pine trees, your husband’s aftershave – smell all those things.
So now you are eating this wonderful meal, now you hear these wonderful things and smell all your favorite smells.
Now three things you love the site of and then three things you love the feel of. So all five senses, and bring them all into play in your memory at once.
This drenches the brain with positive associations and makes it impossible for you to really fixate verbally.
So you will find yourself sort of sliding into a delicious stillness and that’s what this should be. It should not be like we are going to nail your chair and boy, you better not move or think.
No, it’s just drench yourself in everything sweet you have ever experienced and live in that delicious space for 10-15 minutes and just watch what it does for you.
About Martha Beck:
Martha Beck, Ph.D., is a writer and life coach who specializes in helping people design satisfying and meaningful life experiences. She holds a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies and master's and Ph.D. degrees in sociology, all from Harvard University. She has published academic books and articles on a variety of social science and business topics.
Her non-academic books include the New York Times bestsellers “Expecting Adam” and “Leaving the Saints,” as well as “Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live” and her newest book, “Steering by Starlight.” Dr. Beck has also been a contributing editor for many popular magazines, including Real Simple and Redbook, and is currently a columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine.