loneliness with solitude

Why solitude is the perfect medicine for your tired mind

Solitude offers your body a chance to catch up with your mind and also build your mental strength.

German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.” Walking away from society to find solace in your own company is not a new concept. People from around the world embrace solitude; be it camping on a lonely mountain or staying at home doing nothing but self-reflection and introspection. But don’t confuse loneliness with solitude. Both are as different as night and day—while loneliness is an expression of a sense of isolation and sadness that is harmful to your health, solitude is a choice to stay alone and let yourself heal without feeling lonely.

As Goethe rightly said, solitude does bring out your creative side. Isaac Newton, Shakespeare, and many such great people from history did their best work while in solitude. Even today, renowned writers, singers, and artists spend time in solitude to work on their craft. It begs a question—what makes solitude so effective and powerful? When you bask in solitude, you get rid of all distractions, listen to your own thoughts, and reconnect with your inner self. It’s like a mirror being held up in front of you, which reveals all that you need to see.

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, millions of people are living in self-isolation, which is not a choice but a necessity. Self-isolation, however, can also be an opportunity to self-reflect. Spending time with yourself can bring stillness to your rather agitated mind. It can help you suppress the bouts of negative emotions and help you see light at the end of the tunnel. In this feature, Soulveda explores what makes solitude so effective and how it can be your biggest strength during such difficult times.

Recharges your mind and body

When you are out in the world—socialising, managing daily chores, working, or performing different tasks throughout the day—your mind works in a multitasking mode. Most of the time, the tiredness you feel at the end of the day is because of just that, a tired mind. Keeping to 30 minutes every day for yourself to do nothing but sit idle with your thoughts can help you calm your nerves. These few minutes of solitude offer your body an opportunity to catch up with your mind and also build your mental strength. “Being with yourself gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly. It’s an opportunity to revitalise your mind and body at the same time,” says psychologist and author Sherrie Bourg Carter.

Boosts creativity and productivity

In his novel The Myth of Sisyphus, author Albert Camus wrote, “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” Why? Because that’s how the mind awakens.

A study conducted by University at Buffalo confirms the direct relationship between solitude and creativity—when you consciously let your mind wander without restrictions in solitude, it births creativity. In solitude, you are more likely to come up with unique, out-of-the-box ideas, as compared to when you are amidst a group, which is why artists and creators prefer solitude.

Even regular office-goers too prefer to work in a closed environment and find that they work better and faster when alone. Working in the quiet with no distractions not only boosts creativity but also skyrockets productivity—a lesson for everyone working from home.

Develops perspective

When you spend time with yourself, you get to view your life from an outsider’s perspective. This allows you to reflect on your choices and decisions and empowers you to move away from any emotional baggage you may have. Your emotional quotient increases and you begin to understand people and their opinions better.

Keeps your health in check

When you enjoy spending time by yourself, you are no longer emotionally dependent on others. You appreciate your life for what it is, accepting all the flaws and imperfections. That’s how you find the happiness that springs from within and never leaves your side.

A study conducted by Christopher R Long and James R Averill from the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts revealed that people who set aside time for themselves are happier, have lower stress levels, and more satisfied with life. They are also less likely to suffer from depression.

Brings out the real you

When you are constantly interacting with the world, there are different varieties of filters you apply to your personality. These filters keep changing each time you meet different groups, essentially helping you fit in the societal norms. Sometimes just catering to these filters can turn overwhelming—you feel lonely despite being surrounded by people. It is a good idea to break free for a while and meet yourself. Solitude lets you connect with the real you, sans filters.

Empowers your intuitive side

Someone wise once said, “Always trust your gut, it knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.” You should listen to your guts for it’s often right. However, in the hustle of socialising, we turn a blind eye to our intuitive side. Spending time with yourself and processing your thoughts helps boost these intuitions.




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