There have been more than 11 different studies which shows that people would rather shock themselves with electricity than sit alone for 15 minutes with their thoughts. Regardless of their age, education, income or the level of involvement with smart devices or social media previous to the experiment. Women performed a little better than men. Additional studies need to be conducted to understand contributing factors and reasons.
Drawing parallels to everyday life in first world nations, we are constantly searching for stimulus to occupy our minds and body. When was the last time you sat without any type of distraction for more than a few minutes? I know this would be incredibly difficult for me, unless I had deliberately set out to meditate. The world we live in has become increasingly filled with noise – it is omnipresent. In fact, we welcome it and when it is not there, we crave it; to the point that we would shock ourselves to feel alive.
Why do we distract ourselves? Is it too painful to spend time with oneself? Isolation seems to have been a form of punishment since the beginning of the penal system and it works.
It doesn’t have to be all bad. Spending time with yourself in solitude in moderation ignites new ideas that you wouldn’t otherwise pickup when you are surround with noise and distraction. Having time to mentally reflect, dream, and focus on goals are essential to success. Achieving anything starts in the mind and when the internal-self is quiet it will produce great results for the external-self. Taking 5-10 minutes each day to practice solitude (without shocking yourself) is a gift you give to yourself and those around you.