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When was the last time you spent a moment savoring silence? Tricia Hersey, aka The Nap Bishop, guides us through an appreciation of silence and its restorative powers.
Scientists have found that just spending two minutes in silence can lower blood pressure and heart rates, even when compared to listening to slow, relaxing music. Take a deep breath and invite yourself to hold space for silence.
How to Do This Practice:
1. Find a quiet place to rest. Set a two-minute timer and put it aside.
2. Close your eyes and soften your face. Allow yourself to listen to the silence and rest your body.
3. At the end of the two minutes, slowly open your eyes and notice how you feel in your body. Or, continue resting in silence for as long as you need.
Today’s Happiness Break host:
Tricia Hersey, is an activist, organizer, and founder of The Nap Ministry. She is also the author of a new book, Rest is Resistance.
Learn more about Tricia and her new book: https://thenapministry.com/
Follow Tricia on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thenapministry/
Follow Tricia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thenapministry
More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:
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We’re living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That’s where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.
Dacher Keltner We live in a noisy world. And we humans have created a lot of it. The sounds of cars, machines, airplanes, notifications on cell phones — our own voices. What if we were silent?
I’m Dacher Keltner, welcome to Happiness Break. A break in your day to try practices to bring you more joy, compassion, a sense of peace. On today’s Happiness Break, we’ll explore silence – and why experiencing it is so important to our well-being.
Noise comes at a cost. Continual exposure to noise can cause stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure. And many studies show that it can play a big role in the development of some immune diseases. Meanwhile, the literature shows that spending two minutes in silence can lower blood pressure and heart rates, even when compared to listening to slow, relaxing music. Scientists have even shown that when mice spent two hours a day in silence, it actually stimulated the growth of new brain cells in the area of the brain where we process emotions.
Guiding us through today’s practice in savoring silence is Tricia Hersey. You may know her by her social media persona – The Nap Bishop. She’s an artist, an organizer, and founder of The Nap Ministry, an organization dedicated to fighting capitalist thinking by advocating for rest. Today’s practice was inspired by a piece of wisdom Tricia’s grandmother passed down to her, that quietude is of the utmost importance, and we should always give ourselves time to sit with it. So find somewhere quiet and comfortable, and enjoy this meditation on silence.
Tricia Hersey I’m here today to speak about silence and the idea of reimagining rest. There is so much noise. There is so much doing. There is so much activity, but I believe that the body is a sight of liberation. Wherever our bodies are, we can find rest. We can find silence. We can find mindfulness. We can find liberation.
My grandmother, Ora, is the muse of this work, and I speak about her all the time. She taught me how to rest and was a model for rest in a system that was attempting to crush everything around her. A Black woman, refugee of Jim Crow, terrorism. She raised eight children and dozens of grandchildren.
And every single day in between her two jobs, she sat on the couch and rest her eyes. I never knew what she was doing as I was a young girl watching her sit on the couch in full silence, eyes closed.
And I would always ask, “Is grandma asleep?”
And without missing a beat, she wouldn’t even open her eyes.
She’d say, “Every shut eye ain’t sleep. I’m resting my eyes. I’m listening. I’m listening to God. I’m listening to the universe.”
So today, I wanna do something untraditional and hold silence right now in this moment. You can have silence and you can tap into the liberation that is available in your own body. And in your own mind, you can slow down.
So right now, close your eyes if it’s safe to do so. I want us to be like my grandmother, aura, and wherever we are, we can continue letting this moment play through your speakers through your phone, through your laptop. And use this time to have a moment of silence to listen, to close your eyes.
And when you hear the sound of this bell, that is your invitation to hold space for silence. To quietly listen.
And when you hear it the second time, that is your invitation and moment to come out of your silence, to open your eyes, to feel.
Silence is a sound and is a form of rest.
Long pause, followed by bell tone
Thank you for holding silence, for experimenting, for reimagining rest, for being a part of the Rest Is Resistance movement. We will rest.
Dacher Keltner Thank you, Tricia. Tricia Hersey is an activist, organizer, and founder of The Nap Ministry. Her new book – Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto – is out October 11, 2022. We have a link to that in our show notes wherever you’re listening.
I hope you enjoyed that rare reprieve in silence. And I hope you’ll tell us about your experience. What did it feel like to sit in quietude for that time? How much silence are you able to find in your daily life? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the hashtag #happinesspod.
I’m Dacher Keltner, thanks for taking this Happiness Break with us. Happiness Break is a production of PRX and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.