Solitude: How to Create It and Why You Need It
We are a society that celebrates activity, doing, and productivity. How can you cut through the noise to create moments of solitude that nourish and enrich your life? I’ll share 10 simple ways to normalize solitude in your daily life and why it matters.
“Blessed are those who do not fear solitude, who are not afraid of their own company, who are not always desperately looking for something to do, something to amuse themselves with, something to judge.” ~ Paulo Coelho
When was the last time you were intentionally alone? Away from noise, other people’s expectations, and the pull of social media and news headlines? When was the last time the only company you entertained was the company of self? Chances are that the answer is rarely or never.
Why Solitude is Rare
Solitude is the quality or state of being alone, remote from society and its expectations. There are many reasons why solitude is a rarity. Here are at least four reasons:
- We normalize busyness. We are a society that thrives on activity over stillness, doing over being, and productivity over idleness.
- We equate being alone with being lonely or abandoned. This mindset can be developed by buying into societal messages or through traumatic childhood experiences that we have yet to heal from.
- We have a fear of missing out (FOMO). We don’t want to miss out on perceived advantages that come with active participation. Advantages may include being known as part of the in-crowd, keeping up with the Joneses, gaining power through relationships or information, or having more fun.
- We are uncomfortable being alone. Many people simply don’t know what to do with themselves. And some are afraid of their own company.
Do any of these resonate with you? What are other reasons people shun solitude?
Benefits of Solitude
For all the reasons that make solitude a rare occurrence, there are many more reasons why it should be sought. I want to help change how we think and feel about solitude. Specifically, I want to help you create more moments of solitude in your daily life. Let’s start with reframing the four reasons mentioned above why solitude is rare.
First, by stepping away from activity for a time, you can be more productive and effective when you return to it. Just a little time away does wonders in helping you gain perspective, clarity, and the energy needed to complete a task or solve a problem. Stillness, a state of being, and idleness nourish the mind, body, and soul.
Second, being alone and being lonely are not the same things. Loneliness, especially when it is prolonged, hurts. Conversely, being alone can lead to positive emotions. Learning to be alone with yourself and enjoying solitude can be one of the most empowering moves you make. You stop depending on external factors or other people to make you feel worthy, wanted, or satisfied. You become your own best friend – someone who cannot, nor ever will, leave you.
“I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Third, having a fear of missing out comes from a scarcity mindset. With an abundance mindset, you can choose to trust that what is for you will not miss you. Unless you are signing up to be every place all at once, which is impossible and inefficient, there will always be things you miss. Instead of stressing about what you miss, appreciate the fact that you get to select what is worthy of your time and attention. The power resides within you.
Fourth, if you’ve never or rarely spent time in solitude, it’s perfectly normal that it will be uncomfortable at first. Accept that feeling of discomfort without fear or judgment. Use these early moments to grow in self-knowledge. Be curious; get to know what you appreciate about yourself and your life, your likes and dislikes, and what matters most to you. Learning to enjoy solitude can increase your self-esteem.
Can you think of other benefits of solitude? Here are a few more:
- Improves mental health by reducing stress
- Improves sleep quality
- Sparks creativity
- Better emotional regulation (less moody)
- More meaningful relationships
- Recharges you
- You are more attuned to your intuition
To learn more about these benefits of solitude, check out the articles below:
- 8 Benefits of Being Alone & Spending Time With Yourself by Caitlin Bergh, LCSW
- 5 Benefits of Solitude and Why You Need It for Your Mental Health by Taylor Leamey
- The Benefits of Solitude and How to Get the Most from Your Alone Time by Evie Graham
How to Create Moments of Solitude in Your Daily Life
Now that you know the benefits of solitude, you may be wondering how to practice solitude in your daily life. The good news is it’s simpler than you think. Even in the overly stimulated lives we lead, we can carve out precious moments of solitude to reap all the benefits mentioned above.
10 Simple Ways to Create Moments of Solitude in Your Daily Life
- Become an early riser. Wake up before others in your household or neighborhood so that you have quiet, peaceful moments to pray, meditate, journal, visualize your day, and have your morning cup of coffee. (Or stay up later after everyone is asleep to gain the same benefits).
- Take a break from media. Turn off your phone, the radio, television, and social media and opt for silence instead. For example, on your next drive to and from work, the grocery store, or running errands, don’t listen to the radio or make phone calls.
- Spend time in nature. Once a week or once a month, take a walk in your neighborhood, a local park, along a body of water or nature trail. Pick times that will be less populated so that you limit distractions.
- Sit quietly in your favorite room for a few minutes each day. If you’re comfortable, turn the lights off and sit in darkness.
- Mentally prepare for the day ahead. Before you start your workday, sit in your car or at your desk. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Set an intention for the day.
- Take yourself on a date or weekend getaway. Go ahead. Make a dinner reservation for this week.
- Exercise. At least once a week go alone and leave your phone out of reach.
- Go on a scenic drive. Alone. Notice.
- Daydream. Let your mind wander. The best Aha! Moments happen in solitude and when the mind is free to go wherever it pleases.
- Self-reflect. One of the most meaningful benefits of solitude is developing self-knowledge. You can do this in several ways. Try asking yourself a question a day, answering a journal prompt, writing three things you’re grateful for, or creating a list of accomplishments for the day or week.
“Sit in solitude every day. Be quiet and be still. Calm your thoughts and get to know your inner voice.” ~ John Soforic
Solitude does not have to be scary. It does not always mean you’re doing nothing. Instead, when you create moments of solitude in your day, you are setting an intention for how you want to experience your day and how you want to show up. Done daily, solitude can help you create the life you want.
#yourahalife #solitude #integrity #relationships #healthyachieving #resilience #flow #stillness #selfknowledge
Thanks for reading and being a part of the Your Aha! Life Global Community. I hope you find this article helps you to appreciate time spent alone with yourself, and that it motivates you to create more moments of solitude in your daily life. Please share the article with your friends.
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