The idea of surrounding yourself with absolute quiet might feel odd or even frightening to people accustomed to constant manmade noise. Expect that, but don't let it deter you. A few minutes of quiet time may be just what you need to refocus and recharge.
And yes, some people sit in silence for a year—but what works best for most of us is finding everyday moments of silence. Here's how to do that.
Turn down the volume. It's normal to have a radio on while doing chores. But try going without and spending 30 minutes in quiet as you wash dishes, dust or iron. "Those kinds of things are mindless in a good sense as they don't require us to do any heavy intellectual work," says Joseph Dispenza, a spiritual counselor and former monk who spent a year living in silence. This leaves you open to your intuition, that quiet inner voice that can't be heard over noise. Don't be surprised if solutions to nagging problems become apparent during these quiet times.
Walk in the woods. Walking in nature is a simple way to find silence. Save the headphones for the gym and tune in to your natural surroundings.
Greet your garden. The benefit of gardening is twofold: It puts you in touch with nature, and it's great solo silent time. Simply repotting some plants can bring stress levels way down.
Commute in quiet. A silent commute, with the radio off, can be an especially beneficial way to both begin and end the workday. Silently reflect on the day's events to renew a tired spirit and restore peace.
Switch off bells and whistles. Cell phones, instant messaging and emails are filled with sound and stimulation. Each technology comes with an accompanying noise, most of which we don't even notice anymore. Try silencing all your tech gadgets from time to time and spend a few hours enjoying the difference that accompanies a quieter life.