Avadian’s Musings – Is spending time alone good for you?
My guess is many of you would say, “Yes!”
- Do you turn on the TV when you’re home alone?
- Do you listen to music while you’re working?
- Do you hike outdoors wearing ear buds?
The truth is most of us don’t like spending quiet time alone.
Consider that “solitary confinement” is a form of punishment in the U.S.
For this reason, I’m curious about people’s tolerance of sitting in a quiet environment.
Whenever we visited my in-laws, the house was always noisy. We had FUN but the only quiet time I could find was when I went for a walk. The television or radio was turned on while everyone talked louder and louder to be heard above the TV and each other. Once, I asked my late mother-in-law why she liked having the TV on when she wasn’t watching it. I wondered if she’d ever sat in silence.
“The TV keeps me company,” she said. “Nooo,” she emphasized when I asked her about sitting quietly; so, I asked her, “Why?”
She made a funny face then hesitated a moment before saying, “I don’t like what comes into my mind.”
Despite her outward buoyant and joyful personality, she admitted to struggling with depression.
To keep from facing the unknown within, how many of us turn on the TV, text our friends, visit Facebook, Tweet, check our emails, or put in ear buds?
Yet, we pay a price for constant stimulation. Our senses need variety and this includes quiet time; otherwise, we become exhausted fighting off all the noise while increasing our stress level.
NOISY AIR TRAVEL
Consider this next time you fly. After fighting traffic, navigating check-in and security screening at the airport, you board the plane. Babies cry. People talk too loud. Engines are noisy. You deserve some measure of peace and quiet. Put in noise-dampening ear plugs. You’ll be surprised how much more rested you’ll feel when you arrive at your destination.
Lee Bergthold leads wilderness tours. He reminds people that MP3 players and cell phones are prohibited. Besides there are no cell towers deep in the Sierras. (Don’t tell him I brought mine anyway!)
Spending quiet time alone in nature is good for you.
Recently, I returned from an hour-long walk in the forest.
The sun had just set leaving enough light in the sky to see clearly. An almost full-moon was rising as I walked in nature. Creative ideas poured into my mind.
No headphones to distract me; just nature gifting me with peace and quiet.
And oh did the thoughts flow.
Epiphanies. Moments of brilliance. Seeing relationships between ideas that seemed so unrelated. Plus, a feeling of being uplifted.
Quiet time alone is a gift.
Instead of spending so much energy trying to focus on one thing amidst all the noise, smells, and visual stimuli ever-present in our lives, enjoy moments of solitude and witness the beautiful flowers of your thought emerge.
Caregivers, take heed. A five-minute respite alone can be rejuvenating. If you’re like most people, you may have to get used to it, first.