We live in a crazy busy world, and without finding ways to counteract the stress caused by the fast pace of life and constant stimulation coming at us from everywhere, we end up stressed, depressed and anxious. For me, one of the best ways to decompress is seeking and enjoying solitude.
Solitude is not the same as loneliness. Even though they look alike from the outside, there’s a big difference between solitude, which is a positive state of being alone with yourself. Loneliness, on the other hand, is defined by a sense of isolation and a feeling that something is missing. Loneliness is about lack, solitude about feeling whole.
Solitude is a choice. Loneliness is something that is imposed on you by the absence of others. We all have different needs for alone time and time spent with others, but if you’re unable to be alone with yourself, then it’s probably time to ask yourself why.
I believe solitude is crucial for one’s mental health. The benefits to making solitude a regular part of your life are plentiful:
- Solitude replenishes depleted resources.
- Solitude can be a time of inner searching, personal growth, and ultimately, inner peace.
- Solitude can actually improve the quality of your relationships. By getting to know yourself better, you’ll make better choices when it comes to choosing the people you want to spend time with.
- Solitude helps with problem solving and decision making.
- Solitude forces you to unplug. Sitting by yourself with your phone or tablet does not count!
Experts disagree on whether cats are social or solitary animals. I think as with so many things, it depends on each individual cat. While some cats prefer to be the one and only, others thrive with the company of one or more of their species. But I do think cats can teach us a thing or two about the benefits of solitude: even cats who live in a multicat household tend to have their “own” space they like to go off to to be alone.
Do you make time for solitude in your life?