Understanding the power of the "solo"

FREEMAN, Elizabeth, ROBINSON, Emma and HARLAND, Kelly (2016). Understanding the power of the "solo". In: COLES, Richard, COSTA, Sandra and WATSON, Sandra, (eds.) Well-being 2016 : Co-creating Pathways to Well-being : book of proceedings. Birmingham City University, 67-70. (In Press)

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Abstract

Solitude is a fundamental aspect of wilderness experiences and solo experiences, lasting 5 hours or more, have a strong 'survival' element and are a beneficial component to outdoor therapy programmes, sometimes marking life transitions for people. A shift has been made, however, towards solo experiences that centre on the natural environment rather than 'survival'. Shorter experiences of solitude in wilderness, e.g. quiet time or mini-solos, can offer the most "powerful" form of private reflection and can be self-initiated or prescribed. These 'shorter' solos have not, however, been extensively researched and neither have they been investigated in local green or semi-natural areas. This paper discusses a study that qualitatively explored people's experience, meaning-making and human-environment interaction during a mini-solo in a local green space and identified the impact of the experience on participants' sense of well-being. The mini-solo involved participants spending time in nature without distraction from technology or books and, if possible, people, lasting from 20 minutes to 1 hour. 12 older adults (55-74 years; 8 females and 4 males) recruited from walking groups and six younger adults (19-22 years; 4 females and 2 males) undertook a mini-solo. Pre- and post-experience interviews and journal writing (before, during and after the mini-solo) were analysed using thematic analysis. Four themes were created: ' Exerting Control', 'Aspects of Distraction' and 'Receptivity to Solo Experience'. Findings will be explained in relation to theory, literature and policy and may have implications for 'green prescriptions' as a short-term nature-based solution for well-being. Future directions for research are discussed. Keywords: mini-solo experience, wellbeing.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Abstract published
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Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2016 08:52
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2016 23:47
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13379

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