This weekend I spent most of my time doing nothing, by myself, at the pool. Mainly because last week took me to Sydney. A week of conferences and meetings for work. Important people, heaps of information, time with some good colleagues.
It also involved drinking every night, socialising and being surrounded by people almost every waking moment.
As with most of these things, I find myself learning a fair bit about myself – and so this week I learnt I actually don’t like being around people, all of the time. I love my own company. I love my own space. Solitude is happiness. Having experienced some ups and downs lately, this is a huge learn for me. Being happy by myself is wonderful.
I find the company of large groups of people really quite stress-inducing. Being surrounded by large groups of near-strangers makes me feel lonely.
But I’m also feeling smug. A quick google search led me here:
“… emerging research suggests that rather than run from solitude we should actively seek it out, as it can improve mood, creativity and memory, and lower stress and agitation.”
Taken from Why Being Alone Means Keeping Good Company
It’s one thing to be alone, but another altogether to disconnect and be still. Being alone we can still watch TV, trawl Facebook and Twitter, engage with the ‘outside’ world in some way. But stillness takes solitude to a whole new level.
A good friend recently told me to meditate every day. For at least 20 mins. So I did (apart from last week where I couldn’t keep my body upright for long enough without falling asleep). And it’s this stillness that has really brought me peace and happiness in solitude.
If you’re not sure how to meditate, just sit and breathe in and out. Do it for about 20 minutes. There’s no magic way to meditate or some formula to it – it’s about slowing down, and bringing clarity to thoughts. I tend not to move thoughts out like many people suggest, but rather go with what comes to me and spend time considering the issues that arise. 9 times out of 10, I’ll find a light bulb moment where I find the solution to an ongoing problem or a greater understanding of why I’m feeling the way I do. So there’s no magic way to meditate, but it does sometimes feel a bit like magic!