What is the antidote to loneliness?
No, the answer to loneliness doesn’t involve going to a party, hopping onto Facebook or taking a trip to the mall. The antidote to loneliness is solitude.
Solitude is more than simply being alone. True solitude involves getting still and quiet with yourself. This is a difficult skill to learn, especially in a society that increasingly values noise, constant movement, and quick connections through social media.
When you learn to be still and quiet you discover something extraordinary. You are truly and deeply connected … to everyone and everything.
To build solitude into your life:
- Begin and end each day with a few moments of internal reflection. Start slowing down an hour before bedtime. When you close your eyes to enter sleep practice meditative breathing by inhaling slowly to the count of four, retaining your breath for a count of four, exhaling slowly for a count of four, retaining the breath for a count of four, etc. In the morning when you wake, lie in bed quietly for a few moments and reflect on your dreams and sleep before beginning your day.
- Take 20 minutes a day to spend time alone. Unplug the phone, turn off the computer, and avoid any distractions. Be in nature if you can, or sit quietly in mindful meditation.
- Learn Proprioceptive Writing. This is a ritualized form of writing that offers a simple and profound system for learning solitude and deeply knowing the self.
“It is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it” –Rainer Maria Rilke
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