How silence contributes to feelings of tranquility and introspection

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been able to meditate. The thing is, I REALLY want to. It’s something I feel I NEED to do. It’s just that I can’t. There’s always a distraction or something unexpected. That’s why I “meditate” at the spa. The people around me think I go too often and indulge myself with a “luxury expense.” But for me, it’s part of my lifestyle.

Being a naturally curious person who likes to stay in touch, I want to discover, experiment with and share everything. I lead a very rewarding, stimulating life, and I love that. But when your head is filled to the brim with things that need to be done and you’re constantly trying to outdo yourself, it can be a little overwhelming (physically and mentally).

For many of my friends, going to the spa is all about being with friends, doing your nails and chatting in the hot tub. For me, it’s very different. I go to the spa to put my life on pause. I go hoping that my first hydrotherapy cycle will be enough to slow down the thoughts buzzing around in my mind. Are you the type of person who can’t picture yourself going to the spa alone?

My recipe is pretty simple. I head over to Scandinave Spa in Old Montreal, put on my bathing suit, enter the facility and do NOTHING. Nothing but listen to my body. I don’t look at the time, wait for or follow anyone, or worry about anything. The sound of the waterfall in the background is all I hear.

When you’re with other people at the spa, it’s easy to neglect listening to your body. You’re usually too busy trying to notice when others will be finished with the sauna, whirlpool or steam room, and when they’ll ever actually get enough of one area and move on (assuming they haven’t fallen asleep in the Zero Stress room). We also feel obliged to comment on everything: “The water’s so COLD!” “It’s so HOT in here …” and “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going out!” Or, we often feel the need to start a conversation: “So, about that date I got on Tinder…,” “You’ll never guess what my boss did …” and “It’s so great being here, away from the house, chores … everything!” In doing so, we never fully enjoy the benefits of being at the spa and, of course, never give our brain the break it so badly needs.

After one or two cycles, the thoughts that usually cloud my mind begin to fade. That’s the magic of hydrotherapy, the tranquility of the setting, and silence: I feel good and am able to truly relax, soothed by the hormones that are released.

Silence plays a vital role in achieving this state of communion between my body and mind. At home, I’m simply incapable of meditating because I’m constantly distracted by my phone and its many noises. But the silence I’m able to find only at the spa has a genuine calming influence.

Afterward, when I get home, I get things done with renewed vigour and efficiency. My thoughts are clear. I’m in a good mood. The stress I feel is positive. I’m more productive. Why? According to Rachel Jonat, author of Do Less and The Joy of Doing Nothing, being temporarily unproductive allows us to be, ironically, more productive.

Few people enjoy being alone in public places. Who has the courage to go to a restaurant, bar or movie theatre without someone by their side? Most people prefer to stay at home. Others bring their laptop or cellphone to occupy themselves (and look busy). Similarly, many people can’t bring themselves to go to the spa alone. In my opinion, they’re missing out.

Michelle Laurin, loyal client