We live in a world where there seems to be an increasing need to be busy and connected all the time. We are trying to pack more and more into our lives and it is no wonder many of us often find ourselves feeling over-extended with our work and personal commitments. In a rapidly changing society are we forgetting the benefits a bit of solitude can bring to our lives?
For many people, having quiet alone time is often not on the radar. In fact, these days it is almost developing a bad reputation as time that is in effect, wasted! It’s realistic to imagine that a lot of people would find it difficult being alone with their thoughts for too long. The struggle not to think about deadlines and commitments or reaching for our mobile phone to get the latest news feed, email or Facebook update is persistent. Our constant focus on the need to stay connected to the outside world could be leading us to a disconnection with our true inner self and a sense of peace.
We often talk about the importance of looking out for our mates but first and foremost we acknowledge the need to start with ourselves. Taking quiet reflective time out ‘even to do nothing’ can be good for our wellbeing. It gives us the chance to reconnect with our inner most thoughts and enhance our self-awareness. This is by no means a new philosophy, many religions such as Buddhism have long practiced exercises like meditation and mindfulness to promote the virtues of being alone and still in the moment. As human beings, we are simply not designed to be going full tilt all the time, we need regular down time to help restore energy and give us the space to adjust to life’s situations and demands. In his book The Call of Solitude: Alone time In a World of Attachment, Ester Schaler Buchholz sums this up beautifully with the simple statement ‘alone time is fuel for life’.
The social and spiritual aspect of our health is fundamental to our general wellbeing. The experience of solitude can allow us to really delve into our sense of self and purpose, enabling a broader understanding of our identity. It unlocks our curiosity about the world around us giving us space to explore our individual hopes and dreams. Importantly, it can also foster the development of a good relationship with our self which in turn helps us to connect with others in healthy and meaningful ways.
Building some alone time into our lives can be a challenge. How often do we hear the saying there is never enough hours in a day! There are also those periods of time when it’s head down bum up as any farmer or small business operator will tell you. Nonetheless if we are to achieve a healthy balance in our lives and given the way everything seems to be speeding up, then now more than ever we need moments of solitude…
Brenden and the Team
The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277