In 2013, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California predicted that by 2015, the amount of information asked for and delivered to consumers on mobile devices will reach over 15 hours a day to digest, to see and to hear.
Overwhelming, isn’t it?
The billions of gigabytes of information out there not only influences our lives, but also directly affects and leaves footprints on them.
It's no wonder that we -- surrounded by a non-stop flow of information 24/7, constantly texting, talking on the phone and answering emails — find it so hard to be left alone for even 10 minutes.
The fear of solitude haunts many of us these days. The state of solitude, which simply means having some self-time, has gained such a negative and sad meaning.
We think if people are alone, there’s something miserable going on in their lives. In spite of all the talks about how pathetic it is to be left alone in the era of information enlightening overload, I find solitude a very healthy and vital state each of us should find time for.
Embracing solitude doesn’t mean escaping from the overwhelming reality. It’s more about enriching your inner world and putting external influencers on pause to benefit your personal traits and characteristics.
Here are a few of the ways precious self-time will allow you to create a stronger personality:
1. Face your fear of solitude, and find time to stay alone with your thoughts.
Being constantly surrounded by people, social media, news and gossip, we have no time to dwell on and develop our own thoughts and opinions. When you're a part of a group, whether it’s at work or even within your family, you tend to think the same way as them.
You go along with them, and you're influenced by their ideas and emotions. But what they do or say isn’t always how you think or what you would do, is it? Hence, solitude gives you a chance to discover and establish your own voice.
2. Take a break from the world outside and look inside yourself.
They say solitude is a bliss. It is indeed. Not everyone has the ability to zone out from daily tasks, responsibilities and obligations.
Self-time is precious because you can find yourself in a secure zone, free from outside pressure and influence.
It’s a time to look inside yourself, become a little selfish and reflect on your day, problems and feelings. You can analyze them with a fresh perspective that is solely yours, and it isn't influenced by any external factor.
3. Find a way to occupy yourself when being left alone.
When you are left alone, of course, you can sit back and relax, but you can also spend your time doing your favorite activity without distractions. Whether it’s hiking, practicing yoga, baking cookies or getting your hands dirty in the garden, you have precious time to spend on your hobby.
When your hands and your body are busy doing something, your mind becomes clearer. For those of us who can’t stand wasting time, occupying ourselves during the moments of solitude gives us the feeling of satisfaction.
We see the fruit of our labor — delicious cookies, a neat garden or a painted fence — and that makes us happy.
4. Use your self-time productively, and set future goals.
Aside from spending your self-time on your hobbies, it’s also refreshing to write down your future goals. Use this chance to remind yourself of your initial desires, plans and wishes that can be easily forgotten in the chaos of your daily routine.
A sketch of the outline of your life happens in the moments of solitude, when we aren't told what to do or what way to live. We listen to our inner voice and what we really want.
5. Remember that alone doesn’t mean lonely.
Solitude is often misinterpreted. It's no wonder that for a number of people, this word is associated with loneliness. Solitude is about being alone but never being lonely.
Psychologist Emma Kenny explains:
"Loneliness is an unwanted emotion; we experience it when we’re cut off from close connections, like our family and friends. But being alone is a choice, it’s an active action. "We choose to spend time with ourselves, and that’s incredibly positive, as it allows us to see what’s missing from our life and change it."
6. Use self-time to educate yourself and grow as an interesting personality.
Throughout life, we never stop learning. Self-education plays a meaningful role in the formation of who we are and what traits we choose to exhibit.
The best time to educate ourselves is in the state of solitude, when all the external distractions are limited to zero. Reading a good book on motivation, psychology, philosophy or just another love novel while lying on the beach helps to not only distract us from the outside world, but also allows us to reflect on your own lives.
We can analyze and draw parallels with fiction or nonfiction stories and protagonists we are reading about.
7. Learn how to control your emotions, thoughts and feelings.
This is the hardest part of a human being’s existence. To master the art of self-control takes time and patience. Unfortunately, each of us doesn't have the gift of controlling emotions, thoughts and feelings.
We are all passionate and impatient souls. We all want to get answers on questions right away, to express ourselves immediately and to speak up. But at times, being too emotional can ruin things.
Spending some self-time reflecting on our communication flaws, and finding ways to perfect them can be very rewarding. Solitude enhances the quality of your interactions with other people and your relations with them.
With time and practice, it can teach you how to stay calm and listen to an opponent attentively in critical situations. You will learn how to embrace your emotions and withhold them when necessary.
8. Grow as an independent and responsible person.
Solitude make you more confident in who you are and what you do. As you grow more aware of your personality and your desires, you become more independent in your decision-making.
You stop going with the crowd, stop relying on the flow of events and finally start making your own choices and taking full responsibility for them.
9. Solitude doesn’t mean being antisocial.
There’s always something we can learn from Eastern cultures. For example, the Chinese encourage and value solitude. In the East, they appreciate and respect every moment of self-time as a reflection on life.
Meanwhile, in the West, we tend to draw parallels between solitude and being antisocial out of our ignorance. Building walls between us and the external world is necessary and healthy. And we must do so in order to not lose ourselves, and to not drown in the constant stream of information.
10. Recharge your energy.
Solitude reboots brain activity and allows you to unwind. With blocking external influencers and distractions, we regain our concentration and increase productivity. We can focus on ourselves and be reminded of our initial goals.
The stillness of self-time calms us down, presents us with that much-needed rest and awakes the energy within. Solitude serves as a fuel to our daily lives. It’s vital to find a slot in our busy schedules for self-time, for our own sakes.