The Benefits of Solitude

When was the last time you were truly alone?

In today’s booming society, there have been some amazing innovations in technology that increase communication and learning, informing the user with a buzz of incoming news.

Unfortunately, the consistent stream of notifications and reminders have made it much more difficult to remember to carve out a moment for yourself during the day. When we forget to take a step back to check in with ourselves, we are at an increased risk for stress, depression, and anxiety.

While finding the time outside busy work schedules and obligations to friends and family may feel difficult at first, it’s important to remember that there are some incredible benefits that will improve your day-to-day routine!

1)    Time alone can increase productivity -  Whether it be writing a report or finishing some housework, stepping away from a barrage of notifications and investing attention in a single job makes the process much more efficient. You’ll feel all the more relieved after completing the job!

2)    Solitude improves problem-solving skills - When you’re in the torrents of a problem, stepping away can seem as though you are abandoning it. Taking time away from distractions, however, gives you the time to reflect and address the situation from multiple perspectives.

3)    Being alone fosters creativity - Many writers and artists like to leave the city and spend time in nature to reflect and discover their art. In solitude, amazing ideas are brought into fruition. You are able to take a break from distractions and think deeply about what truly inspires you.

4)    Solitude can increase mindfulness - While spending time with others is important and often fulfilling, the constant communication can cause you to forget to reflect on what you yourself most need. By increasing awareness of your thoughts, body, and emotions, mindfulness can lead to reduced anxiety, depression, and stress, allowing you to enjoy your life to the fullest.

5)    Being restful allows you to pause - Sometimes, all you need is a moment to unwind and recuperate from a tough week. Whether it be taking a walk after work or sitting outside for a moment, we all need time to take a break and do what is important for you.

With responsibilities of work, friends, and family, taking a break from our busy lives can seem easier said than done. Take a moment to reflect on your routine and identify opportunities for small breaks and build upon these. Lunch hour or early mornings are a great time to step away and bask in some alone time! A moment to yourself can reduce stress, improve the quality of your relationships, and leave you feeling rejuvenated. Therapy is also a wonderful way to learn how to practice mindfulness and work toward prioritizing moments of solitude.  A therapist can support you in learning how to accept and embrace "alone time" on a day-to-day basis, in order to create a better sense of balance in your life.  

Summertime Fun and Mindfulness with Kids

It’s easy to fall into a bit of a rut over the Summer, looking for ways to keep your kids entertained. Try to think outside the box, looking to local community offerings and adventures right in your own back yard. For example, teaching your kids mindfulness in nature is easy and has amazing benefits, including reduced anxiety and increased concentration.

Learning How to “Let Go” of Your Anxiety

In his book, Full Living Catastrophe: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. provides a metaphor to describe the challenges many of us face with the act of “letting go” of thoughts and feelings that cause us anxiety, pain, and suffering in our lives. 

Everyone Is Going Through Something...

Sometimes the bravest thing to do is to speak about what you are feeling vulnerable about in the hopes of improving your life and helping others to do the same. So many of us that experience symptoms of depression and anxiety hold back from talking with others about these feelings. Thank you for inspiring courageousness: Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, and Kelly Oubre Jr. -  and for reminding us that "everyone is going through something."