Who are you and what do you want for 2020? Many feel that the chaotic world is closing in on them or they are trapped in the role of being a caregiver, parent, friend, child, partner or confidant, unable to shut out the needs, wants, opinions, demands, and chaos of society and others. It is hard being relied on or co-dependent 24/7, yet the thought of being alone can be hard and challenging for those struggling with co-dependency or whom are relied on by others. Freud even noted that “the first phobias relating to situations are those of darkness and solitude.”
Yet, if you are seeking to incorporate minimalist philosophies into your life, find peace, gain focus, or strategize on how to move forward and become a better you, we recommend adopting a practice used by philosophers, such as Plato, monks, and celebrated celebrities for centuries. Entire books by renown authors, such as Peperzak, showcase the benefits of solitude. Bowker, a psychoanalytic political theorist, found that productive solitude is a labor and can be uncomfortable at first, but offers countless benefits. Productive solitude is not isolation from the world, instead it is going off the grid for a bit, being alone for a few hours or days, or otherwise separating yourself from others and the world for a period of time. Benefits of this include:
Due to these and other benefits, solitude can increase your emotional and physical capacity, while making you a better entrepreneur, colleague, leader, parent, friend. Partner and more.
Here are some ways to experience productive solitude:
As you take the time and space to reconnect with your thoughts, dreams, and needs, the sound of solitude will have a beautiful ring to you and soon you will look forward to it, despite your co-dependencies or other responsibilities. Let’s make 2020 the year you commit to your mental health and happiness. Commit to productive solitude and see the benefits for you and those around you.
Birditt, Kira S., et al. "Better off alone: Daily solitude is associated with lower negative affect in more conflictual social networks." The Gerontologist (2018).
Bowker, Matthew H. "A View from Political Theory: Desire, Subjectivity, and Pseudo‐Solitude." The Handbook of Solitude: Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal, and Being Alone (2013): 539-556.
Ingleheart, Jennifer, ed. Two Thousand Years of Solitude: Exile After Ovid. Oxford University Press, 2011.
Jiang, Da, et al. "Everyday solitude, affective experiences, and well-being in old age: the role of culture versus immigration." Aging & mental health (2019): 1-10.
Larson, Reed W. "The solitary side of life: An examination of the time people spend alone from childhood to old age." Developmental review 10.2 (1990): 155-183.
Lay, Jennifer C., et al. "By myself and liking it? Predictors of distinct types of solitude experiences in daily life." Journal of personality 87.3 (2019): 633-647.
Littman-Ovadia, Hadassah. "Doing–Being and Relationship–Solitude: A Proposed Model for a Balanced Life." Journal of Happiness Studies (2019): 1-19.
Long, Christopher R., and James R. Averill. "Solitude: An exploration of benefits of being alone." Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 33.1 (2003): 21-44.
Nguyen, Thuy-vy T., Richard M. Ryan, and Edward L. Deci. "Solitude as an approach to affective self-regulation." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 44.1 (2018): 92-106.
Peperzak, Adriaan Theodoor. System and History in Philosophy: On the Unity of Thought & Time, Text & Explanation, Solitude & Dialogue, Rhetoric & Truth in the Practice of Philosophy and its History. SUNY Press, 1986.