There’s great value in taking a little time out from others and from hectic activity. Time alone may become part of a reflective process.

Being able to spend time with yourself and alone, just being with yourself, is loathed by some and cherished by others. If you’re in the first group, try to think about why you find ‘me’ time uncomfortable.

Time alone may also be used for a personal project or a favorite pastime. Sitting on a porch of an evening may be a time for listening to yourself and remembering what is important in your life. Time for self-reflection can allow us to learn from our own experience.

It can also help us to assess our potential and our future possibilities. What you focus on grows; acknowledging positive qualities, achievements and skills fertilizes their growth. Only when we give time to ourselves are we then available to give to others.

One way to develop your skill of self-reflection is to keep a journal. Sei Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book, written around 1000 AD, is a collection of personal thoughts and lists centered around anecdotes and character sketches of the early Japanese court and its religious ceremonies.

Why not create your own ‘pillow book’ and write lists of whatever takes your fancy: complimentary things; elegant things or ‘things that make the heart beat faster’; inspiring things, things that bring about a state of wonderment; disagreeable things, things that bring inconvenience; or things that bring a simple comfort.

There are so many ways of looking at the world, taking a different angle for a moment can help put things into perspective. You can also try keeping a journal to reflect on daily events. You might use it to record the positive or happy things that happened to you over the day or to list the things you are feeling particularly grateful for.

You can use it to capture your hopes and dreams. A journal can also act as a ‘worry box’, a place where you can list your concerns so you can put them aside. Some people like to explore writing poetry or short stories. Others may use a journal to express their feelings or puzzle through difficulties.

Your journal should be as individual as you are. You can keep a scrapbook, make a video diary, write a blog, or keep a written or photographic journal. However you choose to do it, make it uniquely yours.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • How much time do you set aside to be with yourself? What do you usually do?
  • How could you use time alone to bring extra happiness to your life?
  • What might you learn about yourself, your values, and what’s important to you in this time?
  • What is the best way for you to reflect on your own experiences and make positive changes in your life?

Embrace your individuality, and enjoy getting to know yourself better. Focus on make the most out of solitude; treat it as a valuable activity that you have earned.


Fiona RobardsFiona Robards is an experienced psychologist with four masters degrees who teaches at the University of Sydney and UNSW Medical Schools and regularly presents at international conferences. She is the author of What Makes You Happy?, - a guide to mastering the simple things which make you happy healthy and free - which she spent five years researching.







top photo credit: Solitude via photopin (license)