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Many people feel uncomfortable spending more than a few hours alone, yet voluntary solitude, if used gainfully, can improve mental health, reduce stress, and assist personal growth. Here are seven ways to benefit from spending time alone.
Today’s always switched-on world is a stressful place, and it’s easy to become a slave to your communications devices and the TV. While on retreat, you can avoid the demands of email, phone calls, text messages, and advertisements. Reclaim your power of concentration and use it to focus on one of the activities suggested in this article.
In these hurried times, you’re likely to spend much of your day on autopilot, doing what’s necessary to get through, without questioning whether there’s a better way to live. Time alone provides an opportunity to slow down and reflect on whether your life choices truly reflect who you are and what you want. There’ll be time to make plans for change, too.
Use your distraction-free time to start new hobbies or revisit old ones. Write, paint, tend your garden, sing, or dance. Express yourself without having to worry what others will think. Engage in activities that feed your soul; however, there’s nothing wrong with doing little but thinking–it’s what you think about that’s important.
You must take responsibilities seriously, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a holiday from them occasionally. A period of solitude allows you to replenish your energy levels, so you can go back to your duties and obligations feeling refreshed.
Away from your daily routine, it’s easier to begin living a healthy lifestyle. If you usually rely on convenience foods, try preparing your meals from scratch using fresh ingredients. Forgo alcohol and cigarettes. Cut down on your coffee intake. Catch up on sleep. If you lead a sedentary life, take some exercise. You don’t have to stay at home to be alone–take a solitary walk or run. Find a place where the air is clean and the view, inspiring. Keep it up when you go back to your usual routine.
Often you don’t realize how much some people drain your energy, and how much others give you a boost, until you stop seeing them for a while. Use your time away from friends and family to appraise your relationships. Who energizes and inspire you? Are you guilty of neglecting important relationships? Are there any drama-ridden, unhealthy relationships you should end?
Given that you’re likely to have to spend more than a few hours alone at various times during your lifetime, the art of contented solitude is a useful skill to master. For instance, you might move away from friends and family to attend college or start a new job. How would you feel about the initial lack of close company? Spending some planned time alone will help you to become more self-reliant and confident that periods of solitude, whether voluntary or non-voluntary, can be used positively and healthfully.
Even if you can only manage a few hours, seek solitude occasionally, use it well and become healthier, calmer, and more self-reliant.
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