Despite the word solitary being coupled with the confinement within our penal system, there is nothing confining about solitude when we choose it as a central component of our life. Quite the contrary, solitude is liberating, healthy and beautiful. I saw this Audrey Hepburn meme on a personal development page at Facebook that really resonated with me:
It made me want to write about this subject as it is one that is close to my heart.
I have written about it before… I was the guy who was always single and whose friends would keep trying to fix me up with other friends. In my very large family, my younger cousins were all getting married before me and I kept getting asked when it would be me. I was not going to commit my life to someone that I was not 100% sure about, and I just did not seem to encounter people I felt were right for me. Therefore, I got quite comfortable with the idea of being single, and I learned how to enjoy my own company.
I had just finished reading a book by the mystic guru Osho called Love, Freedom and Aloneness which I just loved, here is a small passage from the book:
“It is beautiful to be alone; it is also beautiful to be in love, to be with people. And they are complementary, not contradictory. When you are enjoying others, enjoy, and enjoy to the fullest; there is no need to bother about aloneness. And when you are fed up with others, then move into aloneness and enjoy it to the fullest.”
I love that quote. I was certain that I was going to spend my life as a single man. Just as I finished reading that book, I met my wife. I married her a year later. Getting comfortable with being single, spending time alone, knowing myself, menat I was capable of the kind of relationship that was right for me. Aloneness brought me the love of my life in my opinion and I value that so much that I am surprised I have not written about it before today.
It is something I mentioned in my wedding speech and have explored greatly ever since. My work and my personal time and social life is spent in the company of others. Yet, some of my favourite ways to spend time are running, gardening, studying, researching, reading, writing and these things are all done alone… Including specifically finding time and space for some quiet time. Some time disconnected and unplugged. I even prescribe this to my clients and those that I mentor.
We can lose touch with ourselves and lose the connection with our inner self due to so much distraction. Many people these days find the idea of spending time alone very disconcerting and are very uncomfortable with it.
Finding some time and even properly scheduling time alone is incredibly important and some of the most successful and creative people of the modern era such as Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton made major discoveries and breakthroughs at such times.
Today, I wanted to give you some reasons that you’ll benefit from solitude and how it’ll advance your productivity and even make you more successful…..
1. Solitude Boosts Mental Calmness and Thus, Creativity.
Anxiety and stress cause distraction and also consume a lot of our energy. We are all so amazingly capable of vast creativity, yet our creativity becomes inhibited and shadowed by so much activity and distraction. We are so busy, and our brain deals with that busy-ness. We are so plugged in to electronic stimulation and faux connection of online networks these days.
When we disconnect, unplug, slow down, quiet the mind, breathe and give our mind and our brain some space, they get to create. Create solutions. Create new directions. Come up with new ideas. We get to innovate. I say ‘we get to’ because they are not just wonderful things to do, they start to happen more readily without much of a sense of ‘trying’.
Time alone means you can reflect upon your thoughts, pay attention to what is going on within and focus on the things that really matter. We get to weigh up alternative solutions (something I’ll refer to again later when I write about problem solving) and awaken the creativity within us. When we are more creative, we usually create more success.
As well as reflecting during solitude, we also get to weigh up our plans. As with problem solving approaches, individuals are encouraged to examine the potential outcomes of our actions. A bi-product of solitude is that we do weigh things up intelligently inherently within the space we create for ourself, and we end up making better, more productive decisions. The decisions are made more objectively too in that space; we are less emotive and irrational. You can be sure of the direction you wish to go in and commit to it.
2. We Get More ‘Special Moments’.
We engage more of our senses and pay closer attention to each moment when we are free from distraction and when we are on our own. During my traveling days, I spent a lot of time with people, backpacking around majorly historic and incredibly awe-inspiring places in the Middle East, for example, I also own a beach hut, and during my time there I was able to enjoy many books and just relax. Having a lot of fun, talking during journeys, shouting and dancing around all night, being in groups every day; much of it seems a blur to me. Yet I have the most distinct, vivid memory of the train journey I took from Syria to the Sinai republic where the sun shone powerfully upon the mountains at the end of the day and they seemed to glow red. It was amazing. I was alone. I remember showing the photographs to friends and family on my return home and felt that I could not do justice with the photos or my words alone to explain how magnificent these mountains were.
A Harvard study showed that individuals create more pleasant and longer lasting memories when they are experiencing something alone. Solitude creates a very particular mindset and perspective that gives us vivid memories to draw upon and to feel happy about. Having more of these to proliferate our inner world are wonderful resources and help us to feel happier in general.
3. Our Sense of Identity Improves!
We think we know who we are. Often we get a superficial notion of who we are based upon snippets of opinions that others have about us, the experiences we have had, the life we have led and so on. When we are alone, we get to discover who we are beneath all of that. We get to learn who we are. We get to truly know ourselves.
Solitude helps you value yourself greatly and recognise that you are indeed a unique individual who does not need to compare himself/herself to others. When you know yourself, you’ll know the direction you truly want to go in with your life, and not pursue life goals that you feel you ‘should’. It gives you inspiration to follow dreams, be productive, take action to create a fulfilling life for yourself and not just be a passive recipient of life, not just be swept along by life.
4. We Relate To Others Better.
This follows on from other previous points. When we know ourselves, we start to be congruent and balanced, and we communicate harmoniously.
More than that though, by spending time alone we start to recognise which people in our life are good for us, are healthy relationships that help us develop and move forwards, and also recognise the people who hinder our progress, are not good for our well-being or hold us back from our goals in life.
Having spent time alone, being more aware of the people who nourish us also helps us to nurture and be appreciative of those relationships, and thus help them to grow too.
5. Focus and Productivity Are Major Bi-Products.
A really interesting study showed that US college students who studied alone tended to achieve better results than those who studied with others. This is a valuable study for more than that fact alone. When students were disciplined by studying alone, at their own pace, working in their preferred way, they had advanced concentration. An ability to concentrate better for longer periods of time advances educational attainment and has a wide variety of later life benefits.
I take a break from my computer or from my clients every hour. I often feel that I could go on longer and sometimes don’t like to break my flow, but I insist on taking the break. I might go and stretch my aching legs off, I might lift some weights, I might sit in silent mindfulness, but I’ll unplug, disconnect and enjoy being alone and free of distractions.
We recharge when we take a break. We get to put things into perspective. The mind can be cleared and we have more mental clarity. So it revitalises us and energises us.
6. Solitude Promotes Problem Solving.
I referred to problem solving earlier and it is a central component to my own approach in therapy. The reality of life is that we all encounter challenges, issues or problems. With a head full of busy-ness, we make poorer choices, but our ability to solve problems effectively is reduced dramatically.
When we have solitude, we get to consider how to best solve problems when our full capacity for creativity is engaged. We get to use more of the capacity of our brain. As is the recommended Problem Solving Therapy approach, problems get reframed as challenges or minor setbacks when you become effective at dealing with them.
I teach my clients to relish problems. Enjoy them. They are major opportunities to learn and develop and become more than we were before. Get excited when problems occur, because it creates a fertile environment for change and development. This can be done readily in solitude, or solitude at the very least advances your ability to problem solve effectively and advance the enjoyment of life.
So many people get overwhelmed by life’s problems. Learning how to tackle the, effectively and develop as a result brings joy, relief and benefit in life.
7. Life Is Beautiful!
This is a simple truth. Be patient with solitude. Don’t force things to happen. When you expect stuff to occur, you are creating a distraction and busying your mind. Be patient with the solitude.
During that patience, you get to sit back and admire the pure beauty of life and the world your life resides in. You get to smell the roses.
You get to appreciate who you are, and know that spending time alone is beautiful. Just beautiful. If you enjoy it for its own sake, it becomes beautiful and will enrich you, fortify you and help you grow.
Engineer some more ‘me time’ in each and every day. You will derive much benefit as a result.
If you’d like to learn more or if this has resonated with you in some way, then visit these pages:
1. Has lack of “me time” held you back and is it still doing so now? Do you need more time for yourself?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others become more at ease with solitude and lead more fulfilling lives?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist for whom lack of effective use of time is negatively effecting the success of your business?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
I love this. You have articulated beautifully what I believe to be true about the value of solitude. Thank you. It can be a difficult concept to justify in positive terms when questioned by others if they are trying to fit what one is saying into their idea of “loneliness”. It’s not the same thing at all.
Thanks Oli. I am continually amazed at how many people struggle to spend time alone. The irony of course is that when you learn to enjoy solitude, you are very unlikely to experience loneliness. Solitude (rather bizarrely, it may seem to some) seems to create a sense of community with oneself that is very comforting, and a togetherness with the world that is as far away from loneliness as I can imagine.
Best wishes to you, A.
This resonates deeply with me. Thanks for sharing
Thank you for taking the time to write and say so Natalie.
My very best wishes to you, Adam.
I love this too. Thank you Adam- You write and speak as I feel.
Thank you Linda 🙂
Best wishes to you, Adam.