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by Mariel Hemingway
"Silence" is a large part of well-being. "Silence" is the sound of things not happening—calls not being made, conversations not being started, and entertainment not being absorbed. How can someone who advocates taking control over your own life and reclaiming your health and well-being also praise "silence" as a good thing?
Easy. Wonderful things come from silence. It allows more to be revealed: during conversation, if one person keeps quiet rather than talking, the other person will inevitably say more. Silence is profound and grounding. Just as exercise can allow you to feel emotions you might otherwise repress, silence allows your true desires, hopes and dreams to surface. These hopes are like seedlings, and the noise of everyday minutiae crushes those seedlings underfoot. How can you hope to hear your most fragile wishes above the cacophony of gossip-filled TV, hyperactive commercials and depressing nightly news?
Whether we're talking about quieting pesky inner voices, or stripping your diet of "noisy" food, or learning to exercise with intention, the end result is to quiet down your internal and external environment to the point where you can truly hear yourself.
The key to silence is breathing. Calm, regulated breathing will pacify your mind and counter the effects of the over-stimulating world in which we live. Try this exercise next time you feel stressed and anxious, and notice the effect it has on your mental and physical well-being.
Morning Breathing Exercise
Start your day with a deep inhale after you turn off your alarm clock and stand up. Hold the inhale for five seconds, then exhale with an audible sound of release. Remember to take the sensation of rest into your standing body. Your challenge this morning is to take a long, deliberate breath before each small task you do, from the moment you awaken until the moment you leave the house. Breathe at the toilet: one deep inhale and exhale. Breathe before you turn on the taps and splash your face with water. Breathe before you take off your nightgown or T-shirt. You get the picture! As you go about your morning, concentrate on breathing—it will slow down your day ever so slightly but help improve your efficiency and reduce your stress as you calmly focus on being present to the little tasks at hand.
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About the Author
The granddaughter of illustrious author Ernest Hemingway, Mariel Hemingway is an Oscar-nominated actress, mother, author, and a prominent voice of holistic and balanced health and well-being. Together with Bobby Williams, they have formed The WillingWay (www.thewillingway.com) to inspire and to discover the possibilities living within us all. Follow Mariel on Twitter, @MarielHemingway, and learn about her healthy living from the inside out at Mariel Hemingway (www.marielhemingway.com).