The Secrets of Solitude – Enjoying Quiet Time
Our world is plugged in. Everywhere we turn, people are talking and texting on phones, listening to iPods, scrolling relentlessly on tablets, and deeply engaged on laptops. We are connected through chargers and WiFi in the airwaves – letting these gadgets rule our lives, our very own neural networks and essence of living, our relationships and ultimately our joy and happiness.
It’s time to unplug and connect with yourself through the forgotten and almost lost art of being alone. These are the times that I am sometimes the happiest.
Why Seek Solitude?
There are many benefits of solitude. When we are alone with our thoughts, it gives us time to listen to the world around us, as well as the world going on inside of us.
Take time to reboot – your brain! Solitude gives our brains the rest and recovery it needs from constantly going all day. Whether at work solving problems, discussing issues in meetings, having conversations with our significant others, or using electronic devices for work or entertainment purposes, our brains don’t have the time to relax. Solitude gives our brains that time to stop and think about anything. Or nothing.
Let the ‘alone time’ fine tune your focus. There are so many distractions and interruptions when we are truly trying to be productive. Give yourself the gift of turning off and tuning out in order to concentrate better and get more work done in less time.
Take the time for deep thoughts. We all have to-do lists that seem never-ending. We mindlessly go through our days checking things off the list, adding new items to the list, and wishing the list had an end in sight. However, when we give ourselves the time to actually stop and think, we allow our brains to slow down which can increase creativity and productivity. Simply add, “Stop and Think” to that to-do list to make sure it gets done!
Learn to really relate – with yourself. Taking the time for quiet with your own thoughts will improve the relationship with yourself. This will in turn, help in your relationships with others. When we get to know what we really want from ourselves, we better understand what we want and need from others.
Practice Problem Solving – Solitude helps you work through problems more effectively. It’s hard to think of effective solutions to problems when you’re distracted by incoming information, regardless of whether that information is electronic or human.
Although we know that there are benefits to being alone, some people have a hard time being comfortable with solitude or finding the best way to practice solitude. There are basically two ways we can seek solitude: staying in or getting out! Some people might enjoy staying home and simply shutting the door to the outside world. Turn off all phones or devices that can buzz, ring or vibrate. This is your time to simply be yourself and be by yourself. Read a book, enjoy a cup of tea, take a bath or listen to calming music and enjoy being alone.
Others might like to get out for their alone time. Go for a walk, sit on a rock in the woods or spread a blanket out under some shade at a park. Other places to enjoy personal solitude might include the beach or a quiet coffee shop. People watch or nature watch with your own thoughts.
Here are some more ideas to help you find time to spend with your own thoughts:
- Pull the Plug – Take time each day in which you are not on a computer, talking or texting on a phone, or watching television. If you use your computer to create, such as writing, turn off all distractions that can buzz or beep while you are working at writing. You will be able to get so much more done during your creative time without all the bells and whistles going off.
- Become an “Early Worm” – Wake up an hour earlier than everyone in the house and use that time however you please – quietly. Create, meditate, problem solve – whatever you need to do to recharge your brain. You can also use this strategy at work – arrive an hour before everyone else does to give yourself 30 minutes without distraction.
- Schedule Solitude – Pencil alone time into your calendar. Give yourself a time each day when you are disconnected. Just a few minutes is all it takes to think clearly and recharge your batteries.
- Close Door Policy – Take a different approach and when you really need some well-deserved alone time, put a sign on your door at work (or home) letting people know you are “in a meeting”. Use this interruption-free time to read, sit and think, meditate, or finish a project that has been needing your undivided attention.
Take the time each day, even if only for a few minutes to get away from it all and enjoy some time alone. You won’t believe how creative and happily productive you will become.