6 Reasons Why You Need Some Alone Time
With our constant connection to social media, true alone time is often hard to come by. Between work demands, family obligations, and social outings when is the last time you carved out some real me-myself-and-I time? Multiple studies show that while loneliness can cause several negative impacts on your health (i.e., depression and cardiovascular disease) making time each week for some alone time can actually do a lot of good for your wellbeing in the following ways…
1. The Way Introverts Replenish…
If you’re an extrovert, chances are you’re energized by social interactions with large groups of people. However, if you’re an introvert, time spent with others can take a lot out of you and leave you feeling zapped of energy. Introverts require a certain amount of me-time, in order to refuel their energy stores.
Famed psychiatrist, Carl Jung, noted that introverts are most vulnerable in over-stimulating, loud, social environments. Just monitor the actions of any introvert after a large group gathering and you’ll likely see them sneaking off for a solo run or with nothing else for company but a good book.
2. Alone Time Clears the Mind
Research published in Psychology Today, by Doctor of Psychology and author, Sherrie Bourg Carter, suggests that a little me-time will help you clear your mind—even if you’re not an introvert.
Dr. Carter explains that, “[Continually] being ‘on’ doesn’t give [the] brain an opportunity to rest and replenish itself.” However, taking some time out to rest and recharge without distractions is vital for processing and contemplation, as well as for rejuvenating the mind and the body.
3. Me Time Encourages Creativity
No, you don’t need to bounce ideas off others to brainstorm effectively. In fact, research from psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis, shows that the best laid plans and creative ideas are hatched as solo projects, from solo sources.
The research found that not only did people come up with their best material when brainstorming by themselves—it also found that brainstorming in groups often results in fewer and flimsier ideas than if those same people went off on their own and merged their stronger ideas after as a group.
4. Solitude Lowers Rates of Teen Depression
While alone time at all ages is recommended for mental health and wellness, a 1997 research study by Reed W. Larson, an emotional development expert and professor of Human and Community Development at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, states that teens that spend an intermediate amount of their time alone were less depressed compared to those who spend very little time by themselves.
In his study, Larson, monitored the companion and subjective states of a group of 483 teens in grades 5 through 9 over a 1-week period. His findings showed that for teens in grades 7 through 9, solitude had a positive impact on their emotional state and that these “strategic retreats [provided] a constructive compliment to social experience in daily life.”
5. Going Solo Can Foster New Connections
Ask your lonely neighbor why he never leaves the house and chances are he’ll say that he doesn’t know anyone who shares his personal interests. That’s no excuse not to get out and find someone who shares similar passions, according to Rebecca Ratner, a business professor from the University of Maryland.
Taking on one of your favorite activities (i.e., seeing a play, traveling, going to a poetry reading, taking cooking classes, or joining a hiking group) on your own will almost guarantee that you meet likeminded folks who also share your interest. So forget about how others are perceiving your coming solo and get out and have fun!
6. Working Alone Boosts Productivity
When is the last time you did a big group presentation at work or school? Chances are one or more of your collaborators didn’t pull their weight, and let a single person do most of the work. If you’re guilty of a concept called “social loafing,” you’re not alone.
According to researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, social loafers are characterized as individuals of a group who put forth less effort when multiple people are working on the same project. Group projects tend to give unmotivated individuals an excuse to hide because others will pick up the slack. Solo projects, on the other hand, encourages individuals to be productive and efficient when they alone are graded for their efforts.
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