All you need to know about The Benefits of Solitude
In this busy world of achieving and striving for perfection to feel like you are enough, it is easy to forget the benefits of solitude. In fact, many of us are afraid to be alone with ourselves. In these alone times of not doing fear, boredom, restlessness, unease and discomfort may arise, giving us a sense that all is not well. It is therefore understandable that we may choose to avoid the discomfort by habitually reaching for ways to numb and shutdown, such as alcohol, drugs, tv or reaching for our phone. We do anything to distract ourselves from ourselves. It appears that as a society we have become adverse to being on our own and connecting deeply to our inner world. My feeling is that the more we run from ourselves and our inner world, the more disturbed by ourselves we become, the more we need to run. Often in my private practice people report feeling sad and exhausted and they are not sure why.
What is solitude?
Solitude is the state or situation of being alone, it differs from loneliness in that loneliness is seen as a negative state marked by a sense of isolation. Of course, too much solitude could lead to loneliness and is not good for anyone, we are social beings. However, solitude as a practice has many benefits.
What are the benefits of solitude?
Spending time on your own reflecting and connecting into your inner world helps you to build relationship with yourself. Strengthening your relationship with yourself and turning inward will help you to slow down and develop a reflective attitude. Getting to know who you are, how you feel and think about things takes time. It doesn’t happen in the rush of daily life.
Solitude allows space for a spark of insight to emerge around an issue you may be having or for a quieter voice from within to have a say (the one that is often overridden by the louder bossier voice of daily life). Solitude can help to increase empathy for yourself and others through allowing time for compassion to arise; enhance your creativity by giving your mind time to wander; increase your productivity and build your mental strength (studies have shown that the ability to tolerate alone time has been linked to increased happiness, better life satisfaction and improved stress management). When you’re by yourself you can make choices for yourself without outside influences. You give yourself time to dream, ponder and be.
Solitude can be a beautiful resting place in your life, a place where you can connect deeply and gain some perspective. All you need do is provide the space and time to allow the mystery of yourself to unfold without forcing or overthinking, just being. For me solitude is in the early morning watching the sun rise, it allows me time to connect not only to myself but the greater mystery of life and the comforting beauty of the world around me. In these times I feel fulfilled, for peace has a presence that tells me I am enough.
Sarah Bergman provides counselling through the practice of Psychotherapy for individuals and couples at her Tweed Practice. Visit www.counsellingonthecoast.com.au