by Sirena Bernal, LTD Contributor
“I restore myself when I’m alone.” – Marilyn Monroe
Call it meditation, solitude, introspection, or a host of other synonyms, spending time alone can be therapeutic for the mind, the body, and the soul. When you momentarily separate yourself from all the chaos and the noise, your mind and body calm down thus allowing raw feelings and masked emotions to emerge. Momentary bouts of solitude are even more beneficial when we are going through a period of transition, whether that’s separating from a relationship, relocating, changing careers or even just having a crazy busy week at work,
Through solitude, our true self is revealed.
In our modern era of ceaseless beeps, notifications, texts, emails, tweets, messages, and perpetual stimulation, a bit of solitude can go a long way. By briefly spending time to just be with ourselves, we not only listen to what those inner voices are trying to tell us, but can also re-energize us to love and help others around us.
5 Benefits of Solitude
1. Time to self-reflect and re-assess your path, goals and intentions.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we are constantly influenced by the environment around us. Our friends, co-workers, family, and the media can all shape the direction of our life, good and bad.
By spending time alone, away from all of this, you can re-assess the direction your life is going without the influence of everyone else around you.
You can evaluate your intentions and discover if the choices and decisions in your life are truly coming from your heart, or from some external source.
2. Better sleep and lower stress.
Constant stimulation, whether from t.v.’s, computers, artificial light, noise, music, or just day to day living, can create an increase in stress levels in our body’s.
By temporarily removing as much external stress as possible, we give our nervous system a break.
This can naturally lower stress hormones like cortisol, which will not only help you sleep better, but help you repair your body, help you lose weight, and increase your emotional well-being.
3. Better appreciation of the people in your life.
One of the first signs that indicates its time for me to have a day to myself, is when I start to become irritated with the people in my life.
In the majority of my relationships, I take on the role of the listener and the supportor. And I take on this role with the upmost pride. So when I start to feel agitated with a close friend, I know it’s time back-off a bit.
By temporarily limiting interaction with the people I’m close to, it helps me to better appreciate their time and company when I am with them.
4. Increased creativity and imagination.
My best thinking and writing come after periods of silence and solitude. Inspiration hits me suddenly when I can step outside of my typical thought patterns and see the world in a clearer view.
Quoting an article from Zenhabits.net some of the world’s most brilliant minds have attributed solitude to their accomplishments:
Mozart: “When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer–say, traveling in a carriage or walking after a good meal or during the night when I cannot sleep–it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.”
Picasso: “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”
By reducing outside clatter and distractions, you allow your mind to think more clearly thus opening the door for your creativity and imagination to run wild.
5. Time to enjoy personal hobbies.
Some hobbies are just easier to partake alone. For instance, I love drawing and painting. And although this can be done in a group setting, I find that I need the peace and quiet to really concentrate on creating a piece of art.
It can be tough to schedule time to work on your hobbies, but the effort is well worth it. I always find great satisfaction when I can spend an hour or two drawing or even just writing in my journal.
By having some time alone, you can enjoy your hobbies without distraction or rush which will help add more balance and peace into your life.
Coming from someone who works in a very social and public arena (I’m a personal trainer and nutrition coach, being social and personable is how I make a living), I totally understand how hard it can be to squeeze in these necessary “me” times.
I have learned though, that by adding even just a few hours a week of complete solitude, you will not only think clearer, but you will feel more refreshed, less anxious, and more appreciative of the people and things in your life.
So the next time you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, agitated, or anxious, try spending some time alone.
It may be just the cure.