“To relieve stress, spend some time alone every day.” ~Unknown Author
It’s interesting to think about how even when we’re alone, we’re not actually completely by ourselves. We’re driving along on the freeway in traffic, music is playing; we’re on our cell phones; or we’re listening to the radio. When we sit at home alone, we turn on the television; watch a movie; or check out what other people are doing online. In any of these situations, we find ourselves physically alone, yet completely disconnected with our true selves. We feel like we are keeping “in touch” with what is going on around us by turning on the TV, the radio or the internet. Yet, we’re actually distancing ourselves from, well, ourselves! Ironically, all of these distractions contribute to the amount of stress in our lives.
There’s this fear that if we are alone, we will somehow disappear. It feels scary to think that no one is there to help us if we fall. Its completely natural to want to belong and feel accepted. We all want to be connected to and surrounded by people. What is mistakenly overlooked is that solitude brings us the power to regulate and adjust our lives. Being alone restores our energy and provides us with much-needed rest. When we distract our minds with television, radio or internet (or even being physically surrounded by people), we only fill a temporary void. These distractions add more stress and our bodies and minds have difficulties de-stressing and letting go.
Finding solitude and being part of a community are both equally important to our happiness and survival. Unfortunately, most people have trouble balancing the two and tend to put a greater emphasis on one or the other. They either become hermits, completely disconnected from society or social butterflies, always surrounding themselves with distractions. When we come to recognize that each strengthens the other, we can begin to allow ourselves to discover and enjoy solitude.
Being alone with yourself should not make you feel lonely. Being lonely evokes fears of abandonment, neglect and anxiety. Again, finding solitude should bring peace, enlightenment and contentment. Being alone with yourself allows you to listen to your inner ear and inner heart. Both of which are ignored when the TV, radio or internet is on. Next time you’re driving or sitting at home alone, turn off all distractions and let your mind be with itself. If that is too stifling, put on some soft music at a really low volume. Sketch or doodle on a piece of paper. Take a bath or find somewhere peaceful where you can sit outside and just “be”. If you’re comfortable enough to go further, try meditating by closing your eyes and encourage your body and mind to become completely still. Try to do this every day, if not twice a day – once in the morning and once at night.
Remember that it is all about balance and connecting with yourself and others. Make it a habit and see if you can recognize that you’re sleeping better and you feel less lonely when you’re alone.