Karen Horneffer-Ginter
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The Benefits of Solitude

The television was running in the background while I grated the cheese and reminded my daughter to pack her homework folder and get her snack. In between, my husband was also telling me of his schedule the next day. Then, I heard the chirp of my phone announcing an incoming text.

Enough. Too much. Too much noise. Too many fragmented thoughts. I needed a time-out, a moment of quiet before I totally lost it and started snapping at those around me.

The quiet moments are restorative. It's a chance to become present to your thoughts and feelings, ease the stress and reenergize your body. Studies show that quiet time even lowers inflammation in the body and promotes well-being.

But in the noisy busyness of life quiet can be hard to come by – unless you fit it in to the nooks and crannies of your day. These tips can help.

Making the Moment Quiet

1. Make it a priority. Like brushing your teeth or taking a shower, 10 minutes of quiet time a day packs health benefits that will contribute to your peace and well-being. This is not a luxury. It is part of taking care of your body and cultivating your spirit and it's just as important as eating vegetables and working out.

2. Teach the people you live with about quiet time. We've coached our daughter that each day includes quiet time. This is special time you get to yourself. No television or computer or music. This is the time to read or play or create art -- alone. It is possible to be with people in the same space and still have quality quiet time. One of my favorite things is when my husband, daughter and I are scattered around the house reading our own books – alone but together. By telling those you live with that this is important to you, and leading by example, they'll begin to support it and enjoy it as well.

3. Use the spaces in between. I rarely have the radio on in the car when I'm driving alone. When I'm waiting for an appointment, I'm seldom texting or talking. And chore time can be mindful and quiet. I often work without music or television or noise. I don't always get alone time, but the spaces in between the rest of my responsibilities allow time without noise.

4. Create at least one daily ritual that promotes quiet. Say a prayer. Meditate a few minutes each day. Go for a run without headphones. Take a long bath, or sneak in a shower before bed. I schedule quiet time. When I know I've got a particularly cluttered day ahead, I'll get up 15 minutes early just to drink coffee in the quiet, still-sleeping house and center myself.

Creating pockets of solitude is a powerful way to refuel and energize our lives. Make it a priority. Build it in. You'll feel better and more equipped to manage the challenges of your day.

Polly Campbell is a sought after motivational speaker and the author of two books, Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People, and How to Reach Enlightenment.

She is a blogger with the Huffington Post, Psychology Today and at www.imperfectspirituality.com. Her magazine articles on personal development topics and spiritual practices appear regularly in national publications. She is also a teacher with The Daily Om, and the Growing Edge Institute.

Campbell has integrated the things she writes and talks about into her own life through practical experience. She lives with her husband, in Beaverton, Oregon, USA.

Read more from Polly Campbell at her website.

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May, 2013:  The Benefits of Solitude

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