I'm a writer. Words are my livelihood. So, it may seem a bit unnatural for me to be writing about the absence of words: silence. However, silence is not only beneficial and even pleasant at times, but also absolutely necessary to attaining the spiritual enlightenment we're all eagerly seeking. Here are five ways saying less will help you grow more.

Say Less, Understand More

Silence aids in introspection, thereby creating a better understanding of self and society. Silence helps to discover your true Self as your focus shifts from words to inner thoughts that you may never even have known existed. When you have practiced the art of being silent, the question of resisting the urge to respond does not arise as you don't feel the urge in the first place. Your mind is tuned to staying composed. In most cases, instant communication does not represent true feelings. When your mind is relaxed, the need for an immediate response does not arise. When you give yourself time to analyze a situation before responding, you give yourself the space to provide a thoughtful response. Silence can convert an instant denial to an open offer or the reverse. When words are not delivered immediately, the level of emotional attachment decreases, making you look deep inside and come out with your mind's words. (Learn why you should better understand yourself in Svadhyaya: A Lifetime of Self-Study.)

Hear Your Inner Voice

In addition to reducing stress and improving your mood, silence refreshes your soul and makes you feel connected. Talking requires energy. By observing silence, you limit yourself to speaking when it's important and when you have a worthy contribution to make. Plus, when you stop speaking you are more likely to hear your inner voice. (Learn more about Listening to Your Inner Voice.)

Gain Self-Control

It is great that you are silent when you have nothing to say, but it is absolutely rewarding when you remain silent when you do have something to say, for this is when you learn what silence teaches you. Silence helps you to master the art of self-control. It helps to achieve emotional balance, study a situation without being sentimentally overwhelmed and make decisions that move your life forward. (You can start by Taking Silence Breaks Throughout Your Day.)

Become a Better Listener

Silence improves your listening skills. Try saying less and listening more. Your silence will become productive as your mind focuses on what you hear. When you practice silence, your mind has to focus on listening, which improves your understanding and makes your relationships better. Contrary to the popular belief that silence can kill your relationship (by supposedly hindering communication), silence can really improve your communication skills. By letting others speak, you gain a better understanding, which makes your communication more focused, decided and, thus, effective.

Improve Your Meditation Practice

Observing silence can do wonders for your meditation practice. Here is how silence helps:

  • Helps you establish direct contact with the mind.
  • Checks the flow of thoughts and impulsiveness to speak.
  • Boosts willpower, which is essential for practice.
  • Relieves stress and tension, and calms the mind, thereby aiding in uninterrupted meditation.
  • Relaxes the nervous system and calms the brain.
  • Improves your focus and prevents the mind from wandering, which is essential while meditating.
  • Conserves energy, which helps to focus on meditation.

Read: Am I Meditating Correctly?

Shhhhh

We often think of silence as the absence of something. In fact, silence is its own lesson, with so many things to teach. (Read one yogi's experience of silence in 10 Days in Silence With DJ Taz.)