Silent retreats are a huge part of a wellness wave that is sweeping across the world right now. The outcomes are amazing, and perhaps even a little bit surprising.
Stress has a significant impact on our bodies and our minds. Many people live in a constant state of stress and simply try to push through it rather than manage it. Headaches, fatigue, and stomach issues are just a few issues caused by stress.
Living a Stressful Life
Can you imagine living with all of those each day? Some people do, but there is a wonderful way to combat this stress that will leave you with a peace that you may never have felt before. You can go on a silent retreat, also known as a meditation retreat.
Discovering Silent Retreats
Silent retreats are known for helping people clear their minds, keep perspective, and be mindful of the present moment. Gaining clarity for their direction in life is often an added bonus if they can keep their focus clear. They will learn how to deal with stray thoughts, worries, and fears so they can focus.
According to a study found in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, meditation retreats provide moderate to large effectiveness in reducing stress. They were also found just as effective in reducing depression and anxiety.
Experiencing the Benefits of Silent Retreats
How exactly are these outcomes achieved? When you first hear the words “silent retreat” it may sound a bit daunting. You may picture yourself just sitting for hours doing nothing, but that is definitely not the case.
These retreats all focus on meditation several times a day. Some meditations are guided, others are not. They may include sitting still, or they may include movement as the walking meditations do. It can be difficult the first few times to empty your mind, but it becomes easier with each session.
In addition to meditation, gentle body movement is often used to bring awareness to where you may be holding stress in your body. You will learn how to breathe into any pain or tension to help let it go. Often, yoga is also included in movement activities.
Being Free to Be Yourself
One of the most liberating benefits of spending time with others while being completely silent is that you do not have to fit in. You do not have to be funny, charming or witty. You belong simply because you are there. That is a huge difference from daily life where many people are trying to do what is expected of them.
Disconnecting to Connect with Yourself
For many people, it is the digital detox that has the most profound effect on them. Most silent retreat leaders collect people’s mobile phones, allowing zero access until the retreat has ended. People spend so much time on social media, checking email, watching television and working right on their mobile phones. As a result, some are initially hesitant to hand their phones over or even to turn it off.
While the struggle is real initially, one attendee said that she could have thrown her phone in the ocean by the end of the retreat. She realized that she was a slave to the information that she could obtain on that little device. She saw that it robbed her of her own peace and focus.
That being said, it can be very easy to fall back into the trap of any technological device once a retreat has ended. Each person must find their own balance of how and when to use technology, so it is imperative to set some personal boundaries. Not using your phone during meals is a great way to start.
Whether you attend a silent retreat to escape the fast-paced world around you or to seriously hone your meditation skills, the results will be similar. You will leave feeling lighter, refreshed, more focused, and more peaceful than when you entered.
Most participants find it liberating to have that peaceful time, without the pressure to say anything. In fact, it may be a bit scary to think about going back to the world the same way you left it. You may wonder how you will acclimate and if people will understand why you may seem more relaxed and quiet.
At the retreat, you will learn how to retreat to your heart center when overwhelm occurs. You will have tools for surviving in the real world again now that you understand how to meditate. You will have felt the incredible benefits, and you will crave for those again.
Silent Retreats could help you. Why not give it a try? Show yourself some love and compassion and attend a silent meditation retreat. Your heart and your soul will both thank you.