Psychology Today has a nice article on the Call of Solitude, in which it argues a lack of solitude can block creativity, peace of mind, and deep relationships.
I’m a big fan of alone time, especially if I’m facing a meaty decision or need an extra strong burst of creativity. Solitude is also a key component of my "spirituality" — a term I use without quite knowing what it means. What I do know is that peacefulness is good for the soul.
Here’s a telling graf from the article:
"I’m away from office and won’t be back for a week. The machine is not set up to record incoming messages." This is what you may hear when you call Peter Suedfeld, Ph.D., a University of British Columbia psychologist who studies solitude–and is well-attuned to the benefits of time alone. In researching the effects of sensory deprivation–the ultimate alonetime–Suedfeld found that after just one hour in a dark flotation tank, people show lower blood pressure, higher mental functioning, enhanced creativity, and a more positive mental outlook.
"My research implies that people are chronically stimulated, both socially and physically, and are probably operating at a stimulation level higher than that for which our species evolved," Suedfeld says. His recommendation: limit the assault of modern technology, as he does with his phone message, to allow for more time alone.
On a related point, Paul Throsey had a sub-par and bizarre op/ed in the New York Times yesterday on "America the Overfull" which noted that each year more people inhabit the earth, which means more crowding (and thus, solitude a more elusive goal).