- The ‘silent breakfast’ trend aims to help people find mindfulness at the beginning of their day
- I decided to try it out for myself and see how it felt — I noticed some great benefits
- In the COVID-19 world, this time of silence is helpful in connecting with yourself
By now, you may have heard of the ‘silent breakfast’ trend — a time of complete silence while you eat your first meal of the day — that has been popularized by cultures and religions around the world. Newly covered in The New York Times, I found the idea interesting and thought I’d give it a fair try.
The practice of eating in silence is highly-known among monastic communities such as Buddhists, Celtic Mystics, Sufis and Vedic Mystics, according to the article. The idea behind the silent breakfast is one of mindfulness: connect to where you are, the food you are eating, and the way you might be feeling.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, my days are seemingly filled with trying to keep myself occupied with work, binging on too much television and checking the latest headlines at what seems to be every few minutes. Rarely, do I find myself in complete silence, as I manage Zoom meetings, make coffee to the sound of my morning playlist, listen to a true-crime podcast or the background noise of the television.
Because of this, the idea of the silent breakfast intrigued me and I went on a 5-day venture, to try it for myself. This is what happened.
I won’t lie, the first day of the challenge felt pretty intimidating. As someone who starts her day by making a pour-over coffee and breakfast to the sounds of Stevie Nicks or Bon Iver, I certainly felt strange not turning on my BlueTooth speaker. After I made my breakfast in silence, I made sure to put away my phone — something I am often tied to for work and scrolling through Instagram — and ate without any distractions.
At first, this felt disorienting. The nagging of wanting to listen to or do something felt like a huge pressure. Admittedly, I felt uncomfortable in my own silence and ate faster to get the process over with.
As day 2 of my experiment arrived, I told myself I’d give it more of a fair shot. The day before I had rushed through the process, out of being uncomfortable that I wasn’t in my normal routine. But on this day, I wanted to truly try and sit with myself, and take my time.
As I sat with my breakfast, the sound of the chair squeaking underneath me as I shifted forward to eat, I acknowledged what I could be using this time for: checking in with myself and starting my day out with mindfulness. I thought about what I’d do that day and what I was grateful for from the day before. Because I went into it with intention, I felt it was much easier to sit with myself.
Day 3 was already here and I found myself wanting to call a friend. Instead, I refrained from calling and made my breakfast: a berry and banana smoothie with a bowl of oatmeal. On this day, I was struggling with some anxious thoughts, which made it hard to sit still.
I noticed though, that sitting in silence while eating, made me confront those thoughts head-on. Sometimes, I can get so busy with life and work, that paying attention to those small thoughts doesn’t happen. I was able to truly sit with those feelings and work through them, even, during the 20 minutes it took me to finish my meal. Starting my day out this way felt good.
By the time day 4 rolled around, I found myself looking forward to the silent breakfast. While it had only been a few days, I felt I could see why so many people practice it. On this day, I set intentions for myself: I will write 6 pages of my novel in the next few days, I’ll eat one green meal a day next week and I will do yoga later this evening.
Before I knew it, my breakfast was over. I felt proud of myself for using the time of silence well. And yes, I did accomplish each of those things.
The last day arrived, and with it, I felt a newfound appreciation for what I had spent the week doing. I could see the way it had helped me — even if it did feel uncomfortable, at first. On this day, I had eggs on toast with a small coffee I picked up from the local cafe down the street. Even on the way home from the cafe, I walked in silence, instead of having my headphones in. I was able to look around, take in my neighborhood, and the people around me on the street. It was nice to have a moment of silence before my weekly Zoom meeting.
I really enjoyed getting to try the silent breakfast. After spending 5 whole days trying it out, I can totally see the appeal: I felt calmer, more intentional, more aware and even more thankful. Having a moment of silence, in a day full of noise from everywhere else, felt refreshing and enriching.
When it came to my mental state, I can say that it definitely aided in calming some of my anxiety and feelings around the pandemic. It also gave me time to reflect inward and check-in with myself, which left me feeling positive, each day.
I don’t know if I’ll be so rigid with the rules, but I am going to make it a point moving forward, to practice silence more often. I’d recommend trying it out for yourself, too.