Why Everyone Needs a Fortress of Solitude
Can you count on one hand (or with only one finger) the number of relaxing days when you’ve spent time alone this year? Are you at peace with your relationships? How would you score your creativity and peace of mind?
If you didn’t like your answers, you are not alone, literally! You are likely suffering from lack of solitude. Find a quiet place, free of distraction, and read this article. I’m going to explain why time alone can change your life.
The Power of Solitude: Why you need to spend time alone
Psychologists have diagnosed our technology-driven society “terminally out of touch.” Studies suggest that we’re not spending enough time alone–thinking, feeling, sensing, and observing our inner being. As a result, our personal relationships, our mental and physical health, our social skills and cognitive functions are all ailing. If we spend more time alone, psychologists contend, we can drastically improve and enhance all of these areas of our lives.
You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, if I’m isolated and lonely, I’ll feel worse, not better!” If that’s the case, you should read on to better your understanding of exactly what solitude means.
What solitude is (and is not)
Isolation is not the same as solitude. Likewise, alone is not the same as lonely. When you are lonely, you feel a void inside, unhappy. In contrast, when you are in solitude, you feel content and happy. Maybe it’s on your own private island or in a bustling city. But rest assured, you can find it.
“Solitude” does not imply you have to camp in the wilderness for days all by yourself. It’s true you can create space to be alone, in the company of others. Just stop doing for others and focus solely on yourself for a period of time. Voila! You’re on your way.
Solitude can cure what ails you
“Tidal pools, empty fields, mountains, trees, and oceans evoke peace and contentment. Something sacred fills these open spaces,” says Psychologist Ester Buckholz, in The Call of Solitude, Psychology Today. “Meaningful solitude allows you to connect with others in a far richer way.” Meaningful alone time, she says, “is a powerful need and a necessary tonic in today’s rapid-fire world.”
Are you ever irritable, but don’t know why? Next time you feel that way, take quiet time out to focus on your inner thoughts, feelings, physical sensations. You may be surprised what your insights reveal.
As you become more self-aware, you will become more curious and creative. When you find yourself in conflict with your spouse, friends, co-workers, or family, take time alone to reflect and contemplate. A few minutes of solitude can provide plenty of answers for what ails you.
Solitude is like a vacation.
Put work aside and make time to discover, relax, and recharge. Be creative and engage in activities that make you happy. “I’ve learned to create little islands of solitude in my daily life,” writes Kendra Kennison in her Oprah.com article, “Why You Must Have Time Alone.” The search for solitude leads to new experiences. Have you ever been on vacation some place that you didn’t want to leave?
Vacation time has inspired many people to purchase a second home in their favorite vacation spot, or to move there full time, searching for a place to escape–searching for a simpler life from the hectic world they live in. “A big part of being fulfilled and happy is in the choices you make. One of those decisions is where you spend your time,” says Josh Linnes, Co-Founder, VivaTropical.com.
Stepping out of society is good for the soul.
Are you feeling the need to escape from your frenzied world? If so, you have a lot in common with most of our society today. The time you spend “wired” to others has most likely increased. Your outdoor time, and alone time, have probably decreased. I’m willing to bet your modern life has most definitely become more complicated.
Once you learn to enjoy purposeful solitude you will experience cognitive benefits, like enhanced focus, memory, creativity, and concentration. Some studies suggest that time alone can result in lower rates of depression and increased self-esteem.
Where you can find it.
As you can see, finding solitude is more about your state of mind, not your actual physical location. Although a change of venue, particularly to someplace quieter where you can be in tune with nature, can certainly help. Here are some examples of where you can find solitude:
- In a crowd. Take an art walk through the city by yourself.
- With your spouse. Reflect, imagine, contemplate–while your spouse reads a book.
- At the computer. Research a new interest. Seek inspiration and knowledge.
- In creativity. Draw, paint, sketch, write, learn a new language, a new instrument.
- In travel. A local destination, Panama, Costa Rica, Belize? Go relax, recharge.
- In nature. Pull up a rock, stick your feet in the water, and listen to the unique sounds.
- If all else fails, you can always buy an island.
Hopefully these ideas will inspire you to find your own place of solitude. For business partners Park and Josh, their quest for solitude was a little bit more radical. Disgruntled with life in the U.S., they left it all behind. With families in tow, they set out to find a fortress of solitude in Latin America, and ended up buying an island. They can tell you precisely Why Island Living Isn’t Right for You (Or Is It?).
Certain that there might be other like-minded individuals who were searching for the same opportunity to slow down and get back to the basics, Josh and Park began working on their Adventure Colony concept. “Adventure Colonies are meant to be an escape from the rat race and encourage new, daily routines. Simplify your life, increase your relationship with the outdoors, and recharge your mind and body.”
If you feel the need to escape, relax, recharge, you might want to carve out a regular place you call home. Download our book to read more about Adventure Colony. It’s free.
Find your own fortress of solitude.