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The silent treatment

This letter writer spends the day in silence when she can’t concentrate. How can she stop?

It could just be your own way of dealing with stress, says our elder.

 

Dear EWC

Today, I sat in silence. I didn’t say a word to anyone. I don’t know why but I just couldn’t. my mind was going too fast for me to keep up with. I couldn’t concentrate on what I was supposed to do so I did anything to stop my mind. I cleaned my fish tank, made things, painted, drew pictures. But in silence. The only time I spoke was when I apologized for something that I don’t even know why. I don’t know what is wrong with me, and I don’t even know if you can tell me what is going on. What I am asking is what do I do to stop these days. Because before they came rarely and now, they come too often. I hate silence but it’s what I’m at peace at but at war in.

 

Shorty replies

Thanks for trusting the Elders for advice.

I can see that you are quite worried about this inability to focus your mind at times. In my own experience, when that happens to me, it is usually because I am over-stressed about something. So, my first question to you would be to ask if you are experiencing a lot of stress when these days occur? Sometimes it can be “good” stress like getting ready for a big vacation or getting a promotion at work, but even good stress can cause our minds to become a bit unfocused. And, certainly, the not-so-good stress can have a considerable impact on how our minds function. Just day-to-day stresses, especially now with quarantines and Covid worries, can seep into our daily living without being acknowledged.  It happens to all of us sometimes.

I think your preference for silence is just your personal way to cope with that running dialogue in your mind. I would say that although you are feeling a bit uncomfortable about your actions, you are coping in a positive way. Although, I’m not sure why you “hate silence”. Why is silence wrong for you? Do you think that other people will find your quietness weird or off-setting? Everyone has days where they don’t feel much like talking or communicating outwards; I just think that our super-connected lives now make us feel guilty or inadequate if we are not constantly reaching out or responding to others.  Just let your friends and family know that you are taking some time off that day. There is nothing wrong with having nothing to say every minute of the day – perhaps the feeling to do so is one of the stresses related to why your mind is running on high.

So, here is my advice. Although you are doing activities to redirect your focus now, I suggest that you add more physical activity when your mind seems to be unfocused. Do something like running or swimming to challenge your physical self when it hits and also on a regular basis. You can choose a solitary activity like running that allows you to avoid breaking silence when you don’t want to. This is not only good for stress relief overall, but it also helps by providing better sleep. Lack of restorative sleep is a big contributor to having difficulty in mental focusing. Make sure that you are eating healthy, too. Too much sugar or caffeine can cause the kind of non-focus that you describe. Just be aware of what you put into your body.

Try some quiet time when you are not feeling stressed or non-focused. Disconnect from social media and enjoy some music or reading on your own. Knowing that you have this to yourself can make it easier to talk when prompted on the days when you are feeling down or highly distracted. 

If you try these suggestions for a reasonable amount of time and nothing seems to make you feel less stressed or less worried about these “off” days, then please consider getting a check-up from your doctor, and/or talking with someone face-to-face about how this is bothering you. There are many possibilities and many solutions for helping you if this is interfering with your ability to enjoy your life. I think it’s a positive that you know yourself well, but occasionally each of us needs some outside assistance to help us along.

The Elders are always here to listen, and I would like to hear back after a while to see if my advice has helped at all. So, let us know how you are doing. My best wishes for you to find more peace and calm going forward.

Article #: 462219

Category: Self-Improvement

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