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How Solitude Can Change Your Brain In Profound Ways

https://www.fastcompany.com/3052061/how-solitude-can-change-your-brain-in-profound-ways

fastcompany.com

How Solitude Can Change Your Brain In Profound Ways
I recently got back from a week of solitude in a house off Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts. I was there to focus on finishing my book of short stories without distraction, conversations, emails, deadlines, and the thrum and pulse of New York City life, all competing for my attention.

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Self-imposed solitude

Self-imposed solitude

Solitude can be invaluable and rewarding.

Moments of solitude – even small ones – when self-imposed, intentional, and fully appreciated, can have profound effects on our productivity and creative thinking.

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Undercover Introverts

Undercover Introverts

One in every two or three people is an introvert – preferring quiet alone time to stimulation and large groups of people.

Stepping away from the routine and rowdiness of our daily lives allows us to connect ideas in new ways, follow creative impulses, and simply think about one thing at a time.

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Creativity And Efficiency Need Solitude

Being alone is uncomfortable at times. But when it comes to creative work and thinking, it’s important to take a long-term view on those moments of discomfort. 

Being alone has a kind of a rebound effect. It’s like bitter medicine, creating more positive emotions and less self-reported depression down the line.

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Giving Your Mind What It Needs

Time alone allows us to order our priorities according to what we need, rather than the needs of others.

When you’re able to disengage from the demands of other people, you’ve suddenly freed up the mental space to focus on longer-term, bigger-picture projects and needs.

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Solitude Feeds Our Relationships

Sherry Turkle, author of the book Alone Together:

“You end up isolated if you don’t cultivate the capacity for solitude, the ability to be separate, to gather yourself. Solitude is where you find yourself so that you can reach out to other people and form real attachments. When we don’t have the capacity for solitude, we turn to other people in order to feel less anxious or in order to feel alive. When this happens, we’re not able to appreciate who they are. It’s as though we’re using them as spare parts to support our fragile sense of self.”

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Make A Weekly Date With Yourself

Make A Weekly Date With Yourself

Make time once a week and do something inspiring and creative by yourself. 

Take a long walk alone, watch a sunrise, go to an unfamiliar church to hear gospel music, visit a museum or neighborhood you haven’t been to, just to experience something new and unfamiliar. 

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Embrace The Space

Embrace The Space

Solitude is a description of a fact: You are on your own. Loneliness is a negative emotional response to it. People think they will be lonely, and that is the problem – the expectation is also now a cultural assumption.

But make the assumption that you’ll be finding the time and space to reconnect with yourself and your ideas, and suddenly the sound of solitude has a delicious ring to it.

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