Are you comfortable with spending time on your own? When was the last time you intentionally took time out to be by yourself?
Throughout history, all the great leaders and all the great teachers have disagreed on many things but one thing that they’ve all agreed upon is that our thoughts can be harnessed to bring about big changes in our lives and in the world. In fact, one of the most successful recordings in the personal development industry is called The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale, in which the secret is we become what we think about most of the time.
The reality is most of us do not harness the power of our thoughts. One of my mentors has an interesting saying — 2% of the population thinks, 3% think they think and 95% would rather die than think. Sustained thinking is often very challenging because most of us have not been taught how to use our thoughts effectively.
Learning to be comfortable being on our own does have some benefits. Here are five reasons why being alone with your thoughts can actually be good for you.
- You can activate your imagination. Our imagination is one of our mental faculties and is often the starting point of all new creations. In the book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill described our imagination as the most marvellous, miraculous and inconceivably powerful force the world has even known to work for you. Through our imagination, we can create mental movies of the things we’d like to do or have, or we can start fantasising about the person we’d like to become. Giving ourselves some quiet time consistently can be instrumental in activating our imagination.
- It allows you to reflect and recharge. So often in our busy lives, we get into the habit of being on the go all the time, without allowing ourselves to take some time out. By being alone, we give ourselves permission to slow down and reflect on what is going on in our lives. Just the act of reflecting or comtemplating on where we are in life and where we would like to be can give us the boost we need to keep going towards what’s important to us.
- It improves your ability to concentrate and focus. Oftentimes we confuse mental activity for thinking. Just because we have a lot of things going through our mind, it does not mean we are consciously thinking about what we’d like to accomplish in that moment. Therefore being able to eliminate distractions, especially from other people, can increase our ability to focus and skyrocket our productivity. Being alone with our thoughts also allows us to think deeper thoughts and move beyond just mental activity or noise.
- It is a chance to change your self-talk. If a poll was taken and people were asked whether their self-talk is predominantly positive or negative, I would imagine that if people are honest with themselves, they would admit that their self-talk is mostly negative. We are our own biggest critic. It’s not our fault because that is how we have been programmed from an early age. By taking time out and being intentional about changing our self-talk through positive affirmations or declarations, we will improve our self-confidence and also increase our self-esteem.
- You can attain more clarity. All too often, we get into a state of confusion or overwhelm because we lack clarity on what’s our next step, whether it be for our work, our finances, our relationships or life in general. We cannot reach a state of clarity if there is a lot of noise or activity around us and in our mind. This is one of the reasons why meditation is a highly recommended daily practice because it allows us to reach a state of mental calmness and clarity. One of the most powerful ways to reach that state of clarity is by giving yourself permission to be alone with your thoughts. The greater clarity we have, the easier we’ll be able to solve problems or issues.
The question now becomes, How can I find time to be alone? Here are some simple, easy ways to find time for yourself every day.
- Get up earlier every day, even if it is 15 or 20 minutes.
- Disconnect from what you are doing by going for a walk or just sitting outside in nature.
- Use part of your lunch break to be still or quiet.
- Close the door in your room or office to block out any distractions.
- Take 3-5 minutes every hour just to focus on your breathing and clear your mind.
Consciously thinking is one of the hardest things we can do as human beings because it is not something we have been taught how to do effectively. By getting into the habit of being quiet, and doing it consistently, you will start to enjoying more clarity, more inspiration, better creativity and most importantly, you will realise that you can actually have fun by just allowing yourself to be alone with your thoughts.
Question: How has being alone with your thoughts helped you?
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