In this day and age, everyone is ‘on’ by default. We are met with stimulus wherever we go and, quite frankly, it makes learning less enjoyable. When you can simply use the handy gadget that can fit in your pocket to search for what you need, it hardly matters whether you retained knowledge and actually ‘learned’ something. Why would it, when you can simply fish out the information online when you need it again?
Yet another reason being always on can be detrimental to one’s health is it strips you of your ‘alone’ time. Many would say they have allocated some time for themselves and call it self-care, but then they post about it on social media as if some proof is necessary to show that they do care for themselves.
‘Real Solitude’ is Now an Alien Concept
Though people still read books, it’s not the enjoyable activity it used to be. Nowadays, it is easy to get distracted while reading, especially when you are not holding an actual book to do so. E-book readers and apps often come in devices that allow for connectivity, which means you can easily be disturbed by notifications from other apps you have on your device. Granted, no one fully embraced a digital reading experience, as a real book gives an immersive experience, but be honest — you feel the itch to check your phone every once in a while, don’t you?
The change in the book-reading experience is not the only symptom of a widespread problem: the lack of real solitude. Now, that it is so easy to be connected to everyone through social media, the separation of time for yourself and time with others have blurred significantly. Even during your solitude you may still be chatting away or mindlessly scrolling through your feed.
Why We Need Our Solitude
One could argue that humans are social beings and therefore there is nothing wrong with staying connected. It is not the ‘staying connected’ part that is the problem; it’s how meaningful those connections are. You may be friends with thousands on social media but when you are unable to communicate with them or their profiles only make you feel bad about yourself, something is wrong.
Every second, there is something to see on social media. Every second, you can either feel good or feel bad about someone else’s post. Every second, you are allowing likes and comments on your own posts to define your worth. Take all those seconds and use them in a yoga meditation retreat and the results will be drastically different. Yoga and other forms of meditation require that you focus on the moment. Something so simple as breathing is suddenly important, and whilst you are working on your yoga poses, there is no room for you to check the latest updates on your feed. This allows you to be in tune with yourself and nothing else.
No one can tell you how to use your time. However, if you choose to use it on mindless activities that misplace your self-worth and make you feel bad by comparing your life with someone else’s, you are setting yourself up to fail.