Using Isolation to Work on Inner Peace & Happiness

As we go through this current global crisis of COVID-19, the best solution as a society to alter the course of this illness is to stay home and isolate. Isolation means for many, learning to live in the realms of loneliness, social disconnection and even loss of freedom of movement outside your home.

Much has been written about the negative effects of isolation recently in social media and other societal modes of media communication. Some people abiding by isolation experience feelings of negativity, bombarded by human suffering and sad painful stories of death, grief and loss and overall despair. This type of isolation and disconnection leads to negatively impacting the emotional, mental and physical state of individuals.

As I reflected deeper within myself, I wondered, where might be the opportunities, benefits and even potential for growth from staying home? I recognized that the first place I needed to explore was how my inner self came to define the word ‘isolation’ and where I might be able to shift the meaning of this word or expand it as to the benefits of isolation, as being a positive. How we socially construct the langauging of the word ‘Isolation’ will have a profound effect of how we ‘feel it’ and experience it.

Solitude and Loneliness (Sarvananda) is based around the premise that time spent in solitude can be of huge benefit on the Buddhist path, whether that means switching off our TVs, computers and mobile phones. ‘The Buddha taught that we must cease to yearn for happiness outside ourselves and begin to trust the potential for nirvana that lies within us,’ Sarvananda explains about the way out of loneliness ‘The way out of loneliness or isolation, then, is to love more deeply. It is in going beyond the ego that we also go beyond loneliness and isolation.’

Here is where introspective reflection, spirituality, learning to be fully present and embracing silence within ourselves has profound benefits to our state of being through positive self-isolation. Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and writer who spent years alone. He writes that “Much of this self-reconfiguring happens through what Fong calls “existentializing moments,” mental flickers of clarity which can occur during inward-focused solitude.” Inward focus of solitude provides us wonderful opportunities to gain mental clarity. We live lives that are constant, full of business and fast pace leading to a mind that must function and keep up at this same pace. Stopping, sitting, disconnecting from rapidness and urgency, turning inward, and being with ourselves allows for mental healing, recharging the mind, restoring, learning the benefit of being fully in the now without judgement.

Positive self-Isolation actually now gives you a chance to ‘attend’ to your mind, comforting it, relaxing it, and in silence, even resting it. Your mind begins to slow down, your sense perceptions open up, you find yourself increasingly present to your life, and you begin to experience solitude in a deep and genuine way. We can enter into a connection to ourselves in ways that we may reflect the following;

“This body is myself; I am this body. These feelings are myself; I am these feelings. This perception is myself; I am this perception. This mental formation is myself; I am this mental formation. This consciousness is myself; I am this consciousness,’ then that person is not being swept away by the present.” {Bhikkhus}

Embracing the opportunities for positive self-isolation as a mean to inner peace and happiness includes:

  1. If your inner self defines ‘isolation’ negatively in your thoughts and emotions, challenge this. Begin to explore the opportunities of ‘positive isolation’ on the mental, body and soul.

  2. Experience the power of ‘switching off’ – or ‘isolating’ from the distracting world, especially the visual world around you and free yourself from being plugged in be technology, consumerism and the need to be productive.  “Switching off” the brain strategies include:

  3. Meditation and Mindfulness – Become aware of your thoughts, accept and let them go

  4. Write out worry thoughts, as this is the beginning of getting them out – THEN FACT check them

  5. “Box it” visualize putting your unwanted thoughts into an imaginary box and you can take them out when you’re ready to deal with them

  6. Go off line with all technology including phones, iPad, and computers.

  7. Set time for “allow thoughts”. When needed give your thoughts permission to freely pop up for a set time of 5 – 10 minutes only. Then acknowledge them 

  8. Daily reflection time – reflect on the POWER of gratitudes, appreciation, thankfulness, inner positive strengths and qualities

  9. Developing a healthy “bedtime” routine. 

  10. By removing all external distractions we can then lean into deeper parts of ourselves, exploring what matters to us within us, who we are, and what we are.

  11. We can deepen the connection to ourselves, and explore ways to deepen our inner compassion to ourself through vulnerability.

  12. We can experience the power of “STOPPING” and resisting our urges to be “doing” allowing our brain to mentally heal, restore, and recharge.

  13. We can begin to deepen our awareness to the conscious present state, rather than living a life of ‘autopilot’ and becoming fully aware of the NOW and what we feel, see, hear, taste, touch, and inner perceptions. 

  14. A intentional momentary break from the world outside your doors provides you the opportunity to reconnect to what matters inside your house. Maybe love ones, hobbies, or interests, or lost rituals (family meal time) that create peace and happiness within you.

  15. Reconnecting to your spirituality, your inner place of peace and comfort that lives and breaths within you. Leaning into this place and deepening this connection to the spiritual self. 

I hope you can use these strategies to turn the times of isolation and loneliness into a more positive experience for your mind.

Ian

13 views

Ian Robertson Therapy & Counselling

6150 Valley Way
Suite #108
Niagara Falls, ON
L2E 1X9

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Podcast