The benefits of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness have become pretty hard to ignore—but finding the time to weave these practices into your morning routine isn’t exactly easy for anyone living with kids, a partner, or even curious cats… which is why silent breakfast has begun gaining popularity among busy folks who want to foster better mental health and clarity without having to change anything about their already packed schedule.
So, what is a silent breakfast, exactly? Well, according to The New York Times, the practice has roots in monastic communities, including Buddhists, Celtic Mystics, Sufis, Vedic Mystics, where members eat their breakfast in total silence, allowing the mind to relax while dealing with whatever it is that may come up in that already-allotted time of the day.
The idea is similar in a way to habit stacking—most of us already make time for breakfast each day, so taking that existing habit and stripping down conversation, background noise, or a morning news program while adding a form of silent meditation and reflection allows us to practice mindfulness and better ground ourselves for the day ahead without taking on an intimidating or unrealistic new habit—or having to set the alarm any earlier than we already do.
While I’m already an advocate for meditation and mindfulness, I thought this practice would be a great way to quiet my mind instead of rushing to see what I missed on the news from the night before. Here’s exactly what happened when I decided to practice having silent breakfast for a week—and why I can see the appeal for anyone hoping to sneak in some mindfulness without committing to a whole new practice.
I usually start the day with a cup of coffee in bed with CNN playing in the background—there’s just so much going on these days and it’s hard for me to completely tune out all the hurt in the world right now—especially as a highly sensitive person.
The first day was a struggle—all I wanted to do was check the news, chat with my partner, and get started on the rest of my routine, but instead I sat, in silence, for as long as it took me to drink two cups of coffee and polish off a smoothie. It took a lot to get my mind to settle but I did feel more grounded throughout the day (even after I checked the news… multiple times).
The second day was quite a bit easier to wrap my head around than the first. It was kind of weird not speaking to my partner until I finished eating, but he’s always down to try whatever wellness trend I’m experimenting with and was happy to remain silent while he was eating as well.
I don’t get a lot of time with him (he’s still going into his socially-distanced office), so I really enjoy our mornings together, but sitting in silence while we ate felt like a better bonding experience than commenting on the news together like we usually do.
Now that I’m half way through the week, I actually don’t see myself going back to my old routine. I haven’t exactly been wrestling with thoughts that come up or anything of that nature, but having a quiet, stress-free start to the day has helped my overall mood and mental health already.
By the fourth day, I actually decided to take my silent breakfast one step further and follow it up with a full guided meditation before even allowing myself to check my social media feed or emails. I’m usually pretty good when it comes to health and wellness and pride myself on my established routines, but I really didn’t notice just how toxic it was to wake up to national news every day.
With everything that’s going on in the world right now, I think this practice could be very beneficial for all kinds of people. Whether you’re guilty of binge watching the morning news, like me, or you’re hoping to become more mindful and grounded without having to worry about somehow carving out the space for a meditation practice.
In my own experience, this trend feels like an easy but highly effective way to calm the mind and start the day a little more focused and relaxed—which is something we could all use after the tumultuous year we’ve had.