Have you taken a full moon walk?
In the spring, the moon illuminates the well-trodden paths near my home.
The nights are clear and dry. No more vrooming cars, no more screaming children. Besides a European robin’s trill, I reap the benefits of solitude and silence.
A sense of freedom animates my steps. I fill my lungs with the cool air.
The silhouettes of oak trees—and the bats flitting in and out of them—stir my soul and connect me with grace.
Many spiritual teachers praise the merits of solitude. Studies show that it relieves stress, increases memory retention and boosts creativity.
We tend to stigmatize alone time, but these 5 benefits of solitude offer us another perspective.
1) Solitude strengthens our voice
When we believe we’re unworthy, we do what it takes to gain respect and approval.
We might deny our truth, appease others or let people walk all over us. Because we all want to be loved and accepted.
Spending time alone helps us discover who we are, underneath our personal and professional roles. We begin to see how much others influence our attitude. Perhaps a long-last desire for creativity and spontaneity revives itself.
“We cannot see things in perspective until we cease to hug them to our bosom.” —Thomas Merton
Life’s frenetic pace keeps our true self lurking in the shadows. But when we finally confront ourselves, we make room for our own voice, wishes and dreams.
2) Alone time increases resilience
Psychologist Matthew Lieberman says we’re wired for relationships.
Social connection nourishes our health, joy and fulfillment. Lacking this sense of belonging to a group—whether that’s a group of 2 or 10—is like lacking food or shelter.
But that shouldn’t give solitude a bad rap.
We live in a society that finds any moment of stillness uncomfortable. Ads, social media and busy schedules bombard us everyday.
Elevator music perplexes me. This study shows 2 minutes of silence to be more relaxing than listening to calming music.
What if we enjoyed 2 minutes of silence to renew ourselves before the next task?
Solitude teaches us how to feel okay with rejection. Our instincts may alarm us of danger when we disconnect from others. But eventually, we learn how to rely less on groups to define who we are.
We cultivate our own garden of joy within. And from this rich soil of resilience, we can more easily make wiser choices.
3) It promotes emotional healing
I never thought I’d be one of those people who savor solitude.
Loneliness plagued me for years. When I decided to live abroad, I didn’t realize how hard it’d be to maintain certain friendships. People seemed to fall in and out of my life.
After much resistance, I began to pay attention to my inner world. Less distractions meant more opportunities to listen to my ego’s complaints and its power over me.
Waves of repressed emotions ebbed and flowed. Fortunately, my partner Loïc helped me stay grounded as I allowed everything to surface. But it sure wasn’t easy.
Ultimately, my loneliness transformed into solitude, something I’m grateful for. Because it created space for me to heal past hurts, care for my inner child and discover my true nature—peaceful and free.
4) Solitude helps us surrender spiritually
Many people don’t have lots of time to enjoy the benefits of solitude and silence.
We can still squeeze in a few minutes of alone time here and there. Of course, sitting meditation helps, but did you know you can meditate on the go?
You can also take a solo walk, drive in silence or watch a sunset. There’s no one way to go within.
These moments of serenity remind us of our interconnectedness.
Us humans tend to forget our humble place in the bigger picture. Without our intervention, the Earth keeps orbiting around the sun. Mother Nature keeps breathing new life into plants and animals.
Little by little, we realize that neglecting a few tasks on our to-do list doesn’t hurt anyone. We learn how to relax and go with the flow more often.
The more we empty ourselves of expectations and attachments, the more peace, joy and grace fill our lives.
5) Silence sharpens our intuition
“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” —Rumi
Years ago, I used to crave sitting on the meditation cushion.
It was the only time I had to be with myself. One day, as I was relaxing into my boundless presence, I heard a sweet voice whisper to me, Enjoy…
My intuition—or higher self, consciousness, Spirit—never communicated with me so clearly. From that day on, I vowed to cultivate my intuition, whatever that meant.
I knew my intuition could give me much-needed guidance, but my ears strained to hear it. Most of the time, my ego took center stage and seized the show.
But instead of resisting pesky thoughts, I leaned in closer. I welcomed all the put-downs, fears and doubts. Eventually, my mind slowed down.
That’s when that still voice within emerged more frequently.
My intuition is like a tiny robin that lets me approach only after I hush my entire being.
BE your North Star
The benefits of solitude and silence are undeniable, but it’s essential to strike a balance.
Solo time and social connection go hand in hand. One enriches the other. Together, they make for an abundant life.
When we strengthen our voice, build resilience, heal and surrender, we reinforce our relationship to ourselves—the most important relationship we have.
About the author
Annie Moussu is a spiritual coach offering practical wisdom to awakening souls. The world needs your inner peace. Sign up for her newsletter to get blog articles twice a month.