By Debby Zelman Rapoport
ast month, I spent an amazing week in the White Mountains of
Campton, New Hampshire. This picturesque area could not be
captured adequately through a camera lens. Between the greenery,
lakes, waterfalls, wildlife (yes, we saw a black bear on the side of the road)
and stars with little to no ambient light this setting was idyllic.
What made the experience even more perfect, in addition to the excellent company, was the feeling of inner
peace I felt while there. Although a quaint coffee shop sat just down the road, restaurants, stores and other city
conveniences were miles away. With the exception of venturing out to Walmart or the grocery store every few
days, time was spent exploring, hiking, grilling out and enjoying our natural surroundings.
When I was growing up, I remember playing outside with my siblings and neighbors until dinnertime. Today,
this activity is pretty much a lost art one that has been replaced by electronics and computer screens. As a result,
kids and adults alike have been missing out on a connection to the natural world. When replacing my multi-task-
ing, sensory-overloaded environment with this peaceful mountain setting, I recognized the value of slowing
down to enjoy nature and the solitude that came along with it.
When you consciously cut back on social scheduling and disconnect from technology and the trappings of
everyday life, you gift yourself with time to breathe and just be; to clear out your cluttered mind and get in touch
with yourself again. In doing so, you allow yourself to tap into your creativity and reflect on interests, priorities,
relationships and life the things that matter most. It also provides an opportunity to consider what is working in
our life and what is not, so you can determine what changes, if any, you may want to make.
Psychotherapist and author Amy Morin says, "Solitude can be highly beneficial to your mental health, creativity
and productivity. Mentally strong people don't fear alone time since it offers restoration and a chance for reflection."
· Time for thought and reflection
· Space to create
· Space to unwind
· Isolation from outside influences
· Ability to find our own inner voice
· Ability to appreciate simple things that get lost in the chaos
To find solitude:
· Disconnect from technology and mobile devices
· Turn off the computer, unless it's being used to create something
· Find a quiet space so you can suppress the noise of the outside world
· Enjoy your surroundings
· Take a quiet, relaxing bath
· Curl up with a good novel
· Have a cup of tea
· Sit still and focus on your breathing
Alone time reduces stress and improves memory and self-confidence. It also increases the amount of
empathy you have toward others. Studies have shown that regular meditation enhances the body's immune
system, enables your ability to heal and boosts self-esteem. Learning to enjoy alone time can help you build
a better relationship with yourself, which, in turn, helps to build better relationships with others.
You don't have to journey to the mountains of New Hampshire to find solitude. It can be found anywhere,
as long as you have the discipline to quiet your mind, declutter your surroundings and search within your-
self. If you seek the solitude that nature can provide, there are many outdoor paradises close to home. Take
advantage of the summer months, venture out, and see how solitude can benefit your frame of mind.
"You cannot be lonely
if you like the person
you're alone with."
Wayne W. Dyer
"Without great solitude,
no serious work
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