'I tried TikTok’s ‘silent walking’ trend and it was harder than I could ever have imagined.'

I can't stand being stuck with my own thoughts.

I listen to a podcast on my commute to and from work. I listen to music on my daily mental health walk. I listen to an audiobook as I fall asleep each night.

This is normal for most people. I'm not that special.

But it doesn't stop there.

If I'm cooking in the kitchen, I turn my TV on and turn it in my direction. In the waiting room for an appointment, I'll watch TikToks on my phone. I even have a radio hung in my shower.

I swear when I die, I'll probably request to have looped soundtrack of Hamilton playing in my coffin. 

So when TikTok started pushing the trend of 'silent walking', I was concerned.

This concept is terrifying.

To illustrate just how dependent I am on surrounding myself with sound, one time my headphones went flat (the horror!) during a 60-minute hike so I played my iPhone at full volume while I held it to my ear.

I pretended to be on a phone call for the entire trek, nodding and occasionally saying words like 'Totally!' and 'Yeah classic!' just to keep up the pretense.

The term 'silent walk' was first coined by TikTok creator Mady Maio, and soon became the platform's buzziest health trend. It's as simple as it sounds: having a daily stroll without the aid of any type of audio entertainment, which means no music, podcast, or audiobook.


No sounds, just vibes. 

The video has amassed thousands of views and has almost 50,000 likes. 

@madymaio #stitch with @KENZIEELIZABETH WE’RE SILENT WALKING ALL SUMMER, BABE 🚶 #walkinggirls #girlswhowalk #meditativewalk #intentionalwalk ♬ original sound - Mady Maio

Mady came across the idea after deciding to commit to a daily 30-minute walk when her boyfriend suggested she switch off all distractions. She said the first two minutes of her silent walk were "mayhem" as her mind started racing.

But then something shifted. 

"Something happens after two minutes where your brain gets into this flow state," she said.

"After 30 minutes of silent walking, I suddenly had the clarity I had always been looking for. Brain fog lifted, suddenly all these ideas were flowing into me because I'm giving them space to enter."

I had to try this. 

I decided to commit to a 15-minute walk because well... that's how long it takes for me to walk from the train station to my home at the end of work.

That's 15 minutes of silence. 

I began my journey to clarity and a clear mind equal parts nervous, excited and desperate to abort this plan.

I'm not as happy as I appear in this photo. Image: Supplied.


I was walking! I was looking around! I was taking in nature!

I was... quite bored.

I immediately started dissecting my day, ranking the most embarrassing moments: when I forgot to apply foundation to my nose, when I choked on a muesli bar, and finally, when I bumped into someone while exiting the toilet and instead of saying "I'm sorry!", I simply said "I'm silly!"

My brain reminded me that I'd forgotten to do something earlier, teasing me that it would remind me tonight at 12:48am as I drift off to sleep.



Maio promised the first two minutes would be mayhem. Maio delivered.

It turns out, me, myself and I is not great company. 

But all is not lost, I was past the two-minute point. I was ready and waiting for "the universe and your intuition to come to you through whispers", as Maio promised.


I looked up at the trees and listened intently. Is this where the voices would come from, as the leaves rustled to offer a coded message?


I listened to the birds chirping – maybe they would tell me the secrets of the universe?


I stared deep into the eyes of strangers passing me: are you a mere vessel for my own self-discovery? 

Nothing. (Also they thought I was a bit weird.)

"I am in pain!" Image: Supplied.


Instead, my inner monologue spiralled out of control. 

I started reassessing my career path. I started questioning whether my job seniority was on par with my age. I started wondering if my single status will ever change. I started weighing up whether I should have lived a few years abroad in my 20s. 

There's a reason Simon & Garfunkel's song 'The Sound of Silence' begins with the lyrics "Hello darkness, my old friend."

And above all, I started comparing myself to others.

But then something happened: I started looking ahead. I started looking around. I started noticing nature. Not just seeing the plants and wildlife around me, but taking note of the colours, shapes and sounds. 

And I enjoyed it. Sure, this only lasted for a handful of minutes, but it did allow me to silence my inner thoughts; to quiet my self-doubt and simply be in the moment. 

No podcast. No music. No audiobook. Just me.

And it was quite nice. Will I do it again? You bet I will... next time my headphones go flat.

Feature image: HBO.

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