Create a special aloneness spot. It’s nice to have a retreat somewhere you can be alone and enjoy time by yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate… just an enjoyable setting where you can get away from it all without distractions or interruptions. Maybe it’s a spot where you can light some candles and sit with some comfortable pillows. Maybe it’s somewhere outside where you can be surrounded by nature. Maybe it's at the kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee.
When people see someone sitting alone at a movie or in a restaurant, the first thought many folks have is not that the individual may be enjoying his or her own company and is actually happy about being solo. The tendency for lots of us is to feel sorry for… be worried about… or maybe even judge… a person who is alone. That’s mostly because we think the individual would rather be sharing the activity with someone else. As common as this way of reacting and thinking may be, it can be based on rather close-minded and mistaken assumptions.
Plenty of people enjoy some solitude now and then. Those of us who appreciate our alone time know that the experience can be an entirely positive one. We like to get away from the influence of others at times so we can unwind, think our own thoughts, refocus, and reboot. Research suggests there are many benefits to grabbing some alone time on a regular basis. Studies have shown that enjoying a little solitude can help some people boost their happiness, productivity, creativity, and self-esteem.
Human beings are social creatures by nature, of course, and we tend to be drawn to connecting with other people. So it doesn’t always feel natural to step away from a people-packed existence, even for a short time. In fact, with all the stimulation and social interaction people have become so used to today, spending time truly alone can feel rather odd… even uncomfortable. We are so used to filling all our quiet moments with distractions, like texting with family and friends, turning on the television to saturate the silence, or throwing ourselves into group activity after group activity.
And… let’s face it… these days, getting away from it all is a whole lot more difficult than it used to be. Advances in technology, texting, and the popularity of social media have made it almost impossible to truly be by yourself... in your own space... with just your own thoughts to keep you company. It’s like we carry other people around in our pockets and are never really alone.
If you are thinking about incorporating a little more alone time into your life and see the benefits of spending more time in a quiet surrounding, you may find the following information and tips interesting helpful.
Spending time alone gives us a chance to…
Write in a journal. Jotting down your thoughts can help you see and understand them more clearly. Over the course of our lifetimes, many of us learn to tune out our inner voice. We no longer hear what is going on inside our own head. It can be quite enlightening to sit quietly and write down whatever comes to you.
Get creative. Being alone can give our creative juices a chance to flow freely. Many successful authors and artists have a somewhat secluded spot where they create their work. In a quiet space that's free of distractions and outside influences, thoughts can wonder and we can come up with ideas and concepts we might otherwise never discover.
There is a huge difference between making the decision to spend time on your own and being forced to be alone because you feel you have no other option. Loneliness and isolation can impact our lives in damaging, hurtful ways.
Plenty of people in the world feel alone and isolated. Some withdraw from social interaction out of fear, anxiety, depression, or some other difficult emotional, social, and even physical issue. For others, seclusion is thrust upon them due to the circumstances of life. These folks may want and/or need contact with other people, but feel they have no way to get it.
Thankfully, there are organizations geared toward broadening our social contact, like religious and spiritual organizations, senior centers, libraries, book clubs, and social groups. There are also health professionals who specialize in helping people deal with the difficult aspects of loneliness, isolation, and seclusion.
If you are feeling the negative effects of loneliness, please reach out to your physician. He or she can help you identify the best ways to deal with the issue.
Get to know ourselves. It can be difficult to hear or distinguish our own thoughts when we are surrounded by other people and their opinions. When we spend time alone, it gives us an opportunity to really think about things and listen to our own inner voice and find our own point of view... as well as really feel our own feelings.
Make decisions. When there’s a decision to make, getting input from others can be helpful but it can also be confusing. Stepping away and contemplating the situation on our own can give us a chance to weigh options without any outside influences.
Breathe. That’s right... give yourself a chance to really breathe. Getting away from the commotion of life can give you a chance to breathe more deeply and actually get more oxygen flowing through your body. It is rare to find anyone who is actually taking full, deep breaths throughout a day filled with people and activities. Taking a truly full and deep breath can take concentration. Try some deep breathing exercises and you may be surprised by how shallow your natural breathing pattern really is as you go about your normal day.
Do things you enjoy. Being on your own doesn’t mean sitting alone in a room by yourself. Taking a walk by yourself offers plenty of time to think and get to know yourself. So can listening to some relaxing instrumental music or enjoying a hobby or feeding the ducks at the local park. Just make sure there isn’t something else going on that takes over your thoughts.
Schedule solitude. Set aside specific chunks of time to be by yourself and alone with your own thoughts. You may want to actually block off time in your calendar for alone time. Maybe it’s in the early morning before you start your day, maybe it’s a break at lunch, or maybe it's in the quiet hours before bed.
Concentrate. When there are other people around and we are involved in other things, it can be hard to fully focus on something. It becomes much easier if we get away from distractions and interruptions. We can then center our awareness on something specific and give it our full attention.
Relax and recharge our batteries. When we are always “on” and involved with others, we don’t get a chance to let go and take it easy. Our brains are engaged and alert and often our bodies are as well. Time by ourselves gives us the opportunity to relax and tune out the rest of the world for a while.
Embrace silence. Alone time means no distractions. No interruptions. It means turning off your phone, television, computer or anything that fills up your world with sound and activity. Silence can be more refreshing and rejuvenating than you might imagine.
Take your time getting used to aloneness. If you are not used to spending time on your own, don’t push yourself too hard or force yourself into spending a lot of time on your own. Find spots in your day where you can be by yourself with your own thoughts. Get used to it slowly and learn to enjoy it.