As an awkward kid with no friends, I learned to love books over people, and I didn’t make any real friends till I was 21. I learned the importance of enjoying one’s own company very early on which made it easy for me to notice, how little time people spend without some kind of distraction or other. Every Friday night has to be dedicated to entertainment involving others and silence is always awkward and needs to be filled with mindless chatter. Not to mention, the insane amount of time people spend on social media using it as a distraction in an almost desperate way.
Then the pandemic happened and the discussion was no longer academic. COVID-19 brought with it a lot of tragedy but it also exposed some of our weaknesses like our inability to be alone without experiencing psychological distress. There was of course the stress of a potentially fatal virus doing the rounds but the isolation also contributed to the rising number of mental health cases. Depression is like an accepted part of society now and it’s tragic just how dependent we’re on the validation of others. We value ourselves based on the number of our friends and followers. It’s also the reason why we enter and stay in toxic relationships for as long as we do despite the abuse that comes our way.
Periods of solitude have kept me sane and the habit of intermittently isolating myself is something I have been doing since I was a kid which made me feel somewhat unqualified in guiding adults into mastering solitude. Never fear, I called in an expert.
Arnie Kozak is a licensed psychologist and a clinical assistant professor in psychiatry. He is also a master of meditation and mindfulness. Arnie has written a lot of books that can guide you in using mindfulness as a tool to enhance the quality of your life, and this interview is packed with wisdom.
We start with a fascinating study that shows just how ill-equipped people are when it comes to spending time alone with their thoughts.
Let’s dive in!
Listen to the episode below-
This episode discusses topics like-
- Why mastering solitude is so important
- How Arnie bagan with meditation and his journey so far.
- Some practical steps that people with busy social lives and the habit of staying constantly engaged can take to develop the skill of spending time alone
- What are some alternatives to meditation that are just as effective (for people with anxiety or trauma)
- How does a person go about building an inner world that meets their emotions
- Resources that can help us become more mindful
Links from the episode-
Follow me (mehra_krati) on Instagram for conversations on empowered living with a healthy mind and soul.
The End of Solitude: Overtaken by Technology, the article sharing the study mentioned in the episode
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