Updated: Jun 21, 2020
There is something that I have been trying to do more often - walk alone, without headphones, without music, and with only my thoughts.
Why? There are a few reasons I think this has been so helpful:
I can listen to and develop my inner dialogue - basically, hear my own thoughts
Try to get a better handle on life
Quiet, solitude, being alone is important to decrease the static that is the rest of the world
The world is obviously much noisier than it used to be and I feel as if we get conditioned to ignore being alone. Do we ignore the importance of solitude, reflection and critical thinking?
I do wonder how much we are losing from not having that quiet in our life. What is the loss?
Is there a shift in attention? Shift in energy towards our devices and not dedicating our resources in to being bored and thinking about things without that device. I think we should embrace being bored. Being bored is an opportunity to develop critical thinking, ingenuity, improve ideas and just calm our mind.
There was an interesting study out of the University of Michigan in 2008. It basically compared Your Brain In The Woods vs. Your Brain On Asphalt. Student volunteers were given a series of numbers and asked to recite them in reverse order. Then they were split up and sent on a roughly one-hour walk: half of the volunteers walked a busy street while the other half strolled through a nature reserve.
When they got back to the lab, they were tested again. This time, the ones that walked in nature didn't just outscore the street walkers; they outscored themselves.
But maybe it was a matter of noise and traffic clatter causing confusion? The researchers did a follow-up test, but instead of going for a walk afterward, they were shown pictures of either urban or woodland scenes. Once again, City lost to Nature. Not just nature but fake nature!
Simple and brief interactions with nature seem to produce marked increases in cognition. So may try to go outside and walk, talk, and think to yourself – hear the world – this is super important
There is significant value to thinking and being alone