As active participants of life, as doers and shakers, as people who want to make a difference, we are busy. But like anything in our world that gets out of balance, working without rest can lead to consequences that negate the positive results of our work.
Bob Kull, author of SOLITUDE: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes, wrote,
We tend to value activity above everything else, but all beings need to rest and recuperate. The widespread occurrence of depression in our culture may be linked to our refusal to allow ourselves quiet time. Feeling the need to be constantly busy can prevent us from turning inward. When we are out of balance, our activity doesn’t arise from a place of stillness and wisdom.
Solitude, especially in our society today, is not a luxury or an activity we pencil in on calendars. It is a need.
The benefits of solitude should propel it to a list topper of our priorities.
5 Benefits to Solitude
- Rebooting the brain. Being “on” or even working diligently doesn’t allow your mind a chance to turn off and rest. Even when you are watching a movie, your brain is working to listen actively and follow the story. But when you are alone and without any distractions, your brain can recharge.
- Working through problems. When you sit with a friend and talk, your mind is engaging in your friend’s world as well as yours. It may be an effective way to process your problems and emotions, but to find a solution and come to peace with it requires solitude.
- Finding your voice. When you are with people, it is easy to blend your voice with theirs and come to group thoughts and decisions. The influence of others is inevitable. But when you are in solitude, the noises are gone and you are able to hear what you truly want to say and believe.
- Improving your relationships. In spending time alone and seeking to understand yourself better, you become a better wife, friend, boss. You will also find yourself appreciating your loved ones more after some quiet time in reflection.
- Satisfying your own needs. It is extremely easy to become dependent on others for every emotional or physical need we may have. Our society encourages “togetherness” much more than solitude. But it is in the stillness of being alone that we learn that each of us is indeed, enough. We discover ways to become more confident in who we are. Gratitude and happiness can then take root.
Ester Buchholz, Ph.D. in The Call of Solitude wrote,
Being alone gives us the power to regulate and adjust our lives. It can teach us fortitude and the ability to satisfy our own needs. A restorer of energy, the stillness of alone experiences provides us with much-needed rest. It brings forth our longing to explore, our curiosity about the unknown, our will to be an individual, our hopes for freedom. Alone time is fuel for life.
Solitude is important. And it’s important to note that solitude is not isolation. Isolation is running from something. Solitude is resting in the beauty of being alone.