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IU Health clinical psychologist explains how silence can improve mental health

Struggling to be alone with our thoughts

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Doctors report many people struggle with being alone with their own thoughts.

Isolation affects everyone differently, but harnessing that silence into positive and inspired thinking is important.

Danielle Henderson, a clinical psychologist from IU Health, joined Daybreak to explain how silence can improve mental health.

“When I get home from work or from my day, I don’t turn anything on, or answer any phone calls, I’m just going to try to use that time, 10 or 15 minutes to sit in the quiet and see what comes to mind for me,” Henderson explained.

She says sitting alone in your own thoughts can be very challenging.

“Sitting in silence for some people is more dreadful than physical pain. A famous study from 2014 found that many people would rather give themselves electric shocks than spend a few minutes alone with their thoughts.”

Henderson suggests people disconnect from the noise and tap into their thoughts at least once a day.

“Embrace negative thoughts as they come. Sometimes negative thoughts are unavoidable. Having your predetermined list of items to consider can help you move past that thought. If the negative thought lingers, consider using the negative thought as a learning opportunity for how you can grow from the negative experience,” she said.