‘Speech Fasting’ Could Make You Healthier

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Apr 21, 2024

Have you ever considered the power of silence? Speech fasting, the practice of not speaking for a designated period, is gaining attention not just among celebrities like Lulu but also among anyone interested in health and mindfulness.

This practice, rooted in ancient traditions and philosophies, offers more than just a break for your vocal cords. It promises a pathway to deeper self-awareness, improved health, and better communication. Imagine starting your day in silence, allowing your thoughts to settle and your mind to clear. It’s not about muting yourself so much as it is about tuning into a more profound sense of peace and well-being.

The Celebrity Endorsement

Lulu, the renowned singer known for her powerhouse vocals, practices speech fasting, especially on days when she has a performance. She believes in the silence before the storm, stating that not speaking until noon helps her “take care of my instrument” (via The Guardian).

Lulu performing at The Sound of 007, 2022

Source: Raph_PH/Wikipedia

While it might seem like a celebrity quirk, Lulu’s routine highlights an ancient practice’s modern-day relevance. It’s not just for singers, though. Anyone can harness the health benefits of giving their voice — and mind — a rest.

Ancient Roots in Hindu Philosophy

The concept of speech fasting isn’t new. In Hindu philosophy, “mauna,” or silence, is a revered practice. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that quieting the voice and mind helps us acknowledge our true nature’s background of stillness.

Two people discussing a topic.

Source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Sage Ramana Maharshi, who spent significant portions of his life in silence, viewed it as a way to connect with the ocean of pure consciousness within (via Hermitary). This philosophical approach to silence as a means of self-discovery and spiritual enlightenment offers a compelling reason to explore speech fasting.

Psychological Benefits

Beyond spiritual growth, speech fasting boasts tangible psychological benefits. Silence can transform how we interact with the world, making us better listeners and more empathetic.

A toddler walking outside and holding a person’s hand.

Source: Guillaume de Germain/Unsplash

According to a piece in Psychology Today, embracing periods of silence can help us connect with those who cannot speak, like infants, on a deeper level. This practice can foster a sense of calm, improving our ability to process information and empathize with others’ experiences.

Silence and Physical Health

The health benefits of silence extend to the physical realm as well. Research, including a 2006 study, has linked periods of silence to lowered blood pressure and reduced stress hormone cortisol levels.

Illustration of brain

Source: Canva

Fascinatingly, silence has even been shown to promote brain growth in mice. These findings suggest that speech fasting could be a simple yet powerful tool for enhancing physical health and mental well-being.

Listening More, Talking Less

The art of conversation is not just about speaking but listening. Dale Carnegie’s “How to Make Friends and Influence People” advises that building relationships often involves listening more than talking (via LinkedIn).

A university professor gives a talk to a group of students

Source: Freepik

Speech fasting can recalibrate our approach to conversations, encouraging us to absorb and understand rather than just wait for our turn to speak. This shift can lead to more meaningful connections and a deeper understanding of those around us.


The Likability Factor

Another fascinating study in 2022 revealed that the amount we speak in conversations can affect how likable we are perceived to be. The sweet spot? Participating in 60 to 70% of the conversation.

Young people laughing on phone Gen z

Source: Canva

It emphasizes the balance between speaking and silence — not dominating the dialogue but also not disappearing from it. Speech fasting can help us find this balance, making our moments of speech more impactful and our relationships richer.


The Balance of Silence and Speech

Finding the right balance between silence and speech is crucial. While speech fasting offers numerous benefits, effective communication is key to building and maintaining relationships.

Worried Young Man Talking On Phone

Source: lernerandrowelawgroup.com

The goal is not to remain silent but to use speech fasting as a tool to enhance our ability to communicate thoughtfully and listen actively. It’s about creating space for silence in our lives, allowing us to appreciate the power of words when we choose to use them.


How to Practice Speech Fasting

Incorporating speech fasting into your routine can be simple. Start by choosing a specific time each day to practice silence. It could be in the morning to set a peaceful tone for the day or during a particular part of your routine when you can be alone with your thoughts.

A woman in a grey shirt is seen meditating on a sunny day

Source: Freepik

Use this time to engage in silent meditation, reflection, or simply to be present in the moment. The key is consistency and intention, allowing the practice to deepen over time.


Personal Stories of Transformation

Many who have adopted speech fasting into their lives report profound changes. From increased clarity and focus to deeper relationships, the anecdotes are as varied as they are inspiring (via The Guardian).

A woman with long brown hair smiling at her phone screen while working on her laptop

Source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

These stories highlight the transformative potential of embracing silence in a world that often values noise.


Overcoming Challenges

Embracing speech fasting in a society that prizes constant communication can be challenging. It requires a deliberate effort to carve out spaces of silence in our daily lives.

A man in a white t-shirt listening to music in tall grass near water

Source: Jovan Vasilgevic/Pexels

Facing questions from peers or dealing with the urge to fill every silence with words are common hurdles. However, with practice and patience, these challenges can be navigated, opening up a new world of tranquility and mindfulness.


Silent Encouragement

Speech fasting is more than just a trend. It’s a potential pathway to a healthier, more mindful, and connected life. By embracing periods of silence, we can improve our well-being, deepen our relationships, and find a greater sense of peace in our hectic world.

A man with curly hair and a blue t-shirt is holding his index finger in front of his mouth in a universal symbol of “silence.”

Source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Whether you’re looking to enhance your health, boost your communication skills, or simply find a moment of calm, speech fasting offers a simple yet profound practice worth exploring.