DIY Quiet: Six Tips to Find Your Stillness

DIY Quiet: Six Tips to Find Your Stillness

The neighbor’s smoke alarm is beeping, demanding a new battery. A kid is bouncing on a pogo stick out in the yard—squeak, squeak, squeak. Trying to focus on a task can be challenging with all the sounds interrupting us . . . excuse me, a helicopter is hovering overhead. OK, I’m back. What was I saying? It’s true: the world is a noisy place. Yet there are ways to create an inner sanctuary, even as distractions pop up around us.

Think big

It sounds counterintuitive, but try becoming exquisitely aware of all the sounds around you. “Focus on your heartbeat and breath, and then the sounds inside the room, and the sounds in the building, the sounds outside the building,” says Misa Hopkins, the author of The Root of All Healing and a sound healer. Gradually bring your awareness back in. “Focus on the sounds you want to hear rather than the sounds that are there.”

Become vulnerable

“Often, distraction is caused by fear,” says Seth Godin, the founder and CEO of Squidoo and the author of 14 books on leadership and business. Fear of? “The quiet, the truth, fear of putting something into the world and saying, ‘Here, I made this.’ If you can befriend the fear and embrace the vulnerability that this brings, it becomes significantly easier to be mindful.”

Don’t be so hard on yourself

“How we respond to sound is very personal,” says Alex Doman. “It’s an emotional response rather than a neurological response.” Doman is the founder and CEO of Advanced Brain Technologies and coauthor of Healing at the Speed of Sound. When we’re tired or stressed, he notes, “our resilience to sound is lower and our reaction to it is higher.”

Take a sound bath

“Immerse yourself in sound and then turn it off,” says Hopkins. “Twenty minutes of sound, and then 20 minutes of stillness. Things become very calm and very clear.”


Do “deep breathing,” suggests Doman. “Or go to a quiet place for five or 10 minutes and refocus and come back. It takes time to reset; when your attention is called away, it’s not going to be right where you left off. You have to get back into your flow. Some of this is about creating new work habits.”


Developing the ability to selectively listen is something that you have to learn. During meditation, Hopkins says, “you are attentive to the silence. That’s where the peace is: in the space between the sounds.”

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