Thursday, November 10, 2022

In Praise of Solitude


In today's constantly connected world, finding solitude has become a lost art. Just the thought of spending time alone paralyses some people. Many people mistakenly think that being alone is akin to being a loser who is lonely, sad, or has antisocial tendencies—as if solitude was a stigma that we should all avoid. Eating alone, going to the movies, and doing anything in public without company would easily generate looks of pity. 


But this could not be farther from the truth. Yes, we are social creatures, “no man is an island”, but it doesn’t mean we should live our lives continuously filled with social events and interactions. Solitude is a choice that provides freedom, space and relaxation from the demands and interruptions created by others. Moments of solitude—even small ones—when self-imposed, intentional, and fully appreciated, can have profound effects on our productivity, creative thinking, and even help us manage loneliness. To convince you better, here we have listed the benefits of solitude.


1. Solitude helps to improve concentration and increase productivity

Although so many offices have started tearing down walls and cubicles so everyone can communicate more easily, studies show that they may actually build up more barriers to collaboration and productivity. Employees complain of noise, distractions, lowered productivity, a loss of privacy, and a feeling of being “watched.” When people have a little more privacy, they are able to concentrate better, which will help get more work done in a shorter amount of time.


2. Solitude gives you an opportunity for self-discovery

When you’re by yourself, you can make choices without the influences of others. And that helps you gain a better understanding of who you are as a person and what you desire in life. Solitude helps you become more comfortable in your own skin. 


3. Solitude provides clarity

In this fast-paced society, having time to reflect profoundly seems like a rarity. Our lives are filled to the brim with commitments and responsibilities. If we allow ourselves always to be surrounded these distractions, we will never be able to think about the essential things in life such as our goals and our future. In these moments, we need time for solitude and distance ourselves from the chaos; the overwhelm, the people, and other distractions keeping us from engaging in deep thought. We need to be able to have a quiet space to relax, calm down, and think for ourselves. And understanding your thoughts, actions and reactions gives you the power to have utmost control over your life.


4. Solitude sparks creativity 

After days full of non-stop working and distractions, we need to give our brain the chance to rest and replenish, otherwise it becomes overwhelmed with previous information, hindering us from coming up with new ideas. “Solitude is a crucial and underrated ingredient for creativity,” Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet, told Scientific American. “From Darwin to Picasso to Dr. Seuss, our greatest thinkers have often worked in solitude.” Being alone with your thoughts gives your brain a chance to wander and explore new ideas, which can help you become more creative.


5. Solitude helps you work through problems more effectively

When it comes to solving problems, you need to be able to focus and think clearly. It’s hard to think of effective solutions to problems when you’re constantly distracted by information and people. In solitude, we have more time and opportunity to properly reflect and examine the potential outcomes of our actions, enabling us to weigh our plans better and make better decisions. 


6. Solitude helps you become self-reliant

The more we allow ourselves to be led, to be coddled, to be taken care of, the less self-reliant we become. As a result, we become less resilient, our strength wanes and we begin to see the world and our plight as something out of our control. We become less responsible for ourselves, and more inclined to allow ourselves to be kicked when we’re down. When you’re alone, there’s no one else that can help. You have to solve challenges yourself and make decisions yourself. When you prove to yourself that you are able to accomplish things on your own, it will boost your confidence and self-esteem. You are more willing to do hard work, to make a difference and to stand up for your life. 


7. Solitude allows you to have a deeper sense of empathy 

One Harvard study reported that a certain amount of solitude can make a person more capable of empathy towards others. As one of the benefits of solitude, empathy is the ability to vicariously feel, in a real sense, the experiences and aspirations of others, allowing them to relate with others on a deep level of sincerity and affection. Have you ever wondered why famous spiritual leaders—from Jesus to Buddha to Gandhi—always took some time alone and mulled things over? They are able to feel and express empathy because they regularly take a step back to look at mankind from their perspective. 


8. Solitude can enhance the quality of your relationships with others.

By spending time with yourself and gaining a better understanding of who you are, you’re able to reflect and make better choices about the “real” friends you want to be around. When you understand yourself better, you’ll be able to maintain healthy relationships with others. You also may come to appreciate your relationships more after you've spent some time alone. 


9. Solitude improves mental well-being 

We’re social creatures and it’s important to maintain strong connections with other people. But, solitude may be just as important. Studies have found people who set aside time to be alone tend to be happier. They report better life satisfaction and lower levels of stress. They're also less likely to have depression. 


10. Solitude reduces stress

Air pollution, noise pollution, visual pollution—everywhere we turn there’s a constant source of distraction and overstimulation. One of the benefits of solitude is the power to eliminate stress by removing these modern-life stressors. Taking the time to be alone for a few moments can immensely help you in releasing anxiety and regaining your mental focus.