Loneliness is considered an epidemic. It’s linked to health issues, lack of empathy, and much more. On the contrary, spending time alone in your company is not that bad. In fact, there are a host of unexpected benefits to spending time alone!
As a world, we have collectively lost sight of the benefits of being alone.
Workplaces are abandoning single-person desks for shared and wide-open common spaces. Children are supposed to sit in groups rather than stay alone.
The rest of us have our own reservations about being alone. We fear judgment and stigma – what if people judge us for enjoying a dinner alone? Isn’t it embarrassing to go to an event without a partner? And aren’t you considered lonely if you spend time alone binge-watching Netflix while the rest of the world is partying the night away?
Moreover, given the increased dominance of technology, modern life is defined by the sound of ‘ping,’ which informs us and keeps us connected with every message, information, and happening in the world.
The benefits of being alone are a side that’s mostly unexplored in present times. From increased focus, better relationships, higher creativity, and much more – you gain a lot from being a ‘loner’ from time to time.
In this post, we will dive deeper into the myriad benefits of being alone. We’ll also provide you with easy and effective tips on how to spend (and actually enjoy) time alone.
7 Amazing Things That Happen When You Spend Time Alone
1. It gives you a much-needed breathing space.
What do we mean by this?
Think about your days and weeks from the past few months, and you’ll quickly realize that you spend most of your time being overwhelmed with obligations and surrounded by deadlines. You might feel like you are running on autopilot with an over-flowing to-do list.
This is exactly why getting a breathing space is one of the most important benefits of being alone. Think of it as finding your way out of a crowded room suffocating you.
Spending time alone is important because it allows you some time off your regular inhibitions and obligations surrounding your daily social life.
2. It makes you a much better friend.
Remember what they say about being unable to pour from an empty cup?
No one can be emotionally available all the time. But that’s where the emotional effects of being alone come into play.
Once you recharge your emotional batteries, you are much better equipped to engage and connect with people who need your love and support. As reported by the Boston Globe, credible research suggests that spending time alone is an important part of a healthy social life.
So, if you really want to spend quality time with people and be there for them, make sure you also spend adequate time away from them.
3. It boosts your creativity.
The benefits of alone time are far more varied than you think.
Think of why you always get the best ideas when in the bath or on your night walks. This is because increased creativity is one of the most important benefits of spending time alone.
So, while most people might try to convince you that brainstorming is more of a group activity, science says something contrary.
As per a report in the Harvard Business Review, people are better equipped to find solutions to complex problems when they are working alone rather than in a group.
When working or brainstorming in a group, you never really understand what you think. This is because, as humans, we are highly social animals. This means you might mimic popular opinions or change stances depending on the situation.
Moreover, people feel less conscious when alone, again a conducive space to sprout creativity. This is because not only are you free from societal pressures, but you are genuinely allowed to lend an ear to your innermost thoughts.
4. You get more things done.
It’s generally said that the more hands, the better. And while this might be true for strength-based tasks, that’s definitely not the case with cognitive tasks.
A study of over 600 programmers distributed to over 90 companies showed that the productivity levels of employees were widely different between companies. Organizations that ditched joint workspaces for more personalized settings had higher productivity levels. In fact, 76% of the worst performers in the study reported being unnecessarily disturbed was a prime reason for their issues.
This is precisely why alone time is important. Being in groups reduces people’s problem-solving ability, thereby restricting their ability to focus and get things done.
5. It gives you a better understanding of yourself.
The benefits of spending time alone are not just limited to a better professional or academic life. When you are alone, you tend to focus more on yourself. You develop a better understanding of what you think, your values, and your opinions about everything.
Therefore, the positive effects of being alone are seen in your relationship with yourself.
The more you work on this relationship, the better you understand your needs, strengths, and weaknesses. You can chalk out your dreams and future goals while effectively chalking the path to reach those goals.
6. It improves your emotional regulation abilities.
The benefits of alone time are also adequately reflected in your mental and emotional health.
When you are content in your company, you are more likely to have neutral thoughts than the constant influx of negative and positive thoughts and stimuli you are bombarded with in your social life.
Taking a break from your intruding social life can help you unplug from negative emotions. It also allows you to rework negative thoughts and beliefs through fresh perspectives.
7. Enjoying yourself means enjoying the world.
Many people confuse being alone with not doing anything. But that’s as far from the truth as possible. Alone time is equated with physical loneliness, which is dreaded by most.
But solitude or being alone is a state. Not a place or destination.
Therefore, you can enjoy your company and relish the benefits of spending time alone even when you are in the company. So, you don’t have to go on artistic dates to be alone. You don’t have to be antisocial. You can simply spend an hour, a day, or a week alone as and when you wish.
The benefits of spending time alone will be reflected in how you interact with the outside world. These interactions will be more fulfilling once you learn to enjoy the silent moments with yourself every once in a while.
How To Spend (And Actually) Enjoy Spending Time Alone?
Now that we have covered the benefits of spending time alone, let’s get to the how of the problem. How do you enjoy alone time?
Because, let’s be honest. Even with the host of positive effects of alone time, you’ll spend time pacing up and down, wondering what to do with yourself when you are actually left alone.
Even though this isn’t an ideal reaction, it’s certainly a normal one.
So, if you are scared or confused about how to spend time alone, here are a few actionable tips for you to get started.
1. Validate yourself.
Our social needs arise because we need constant validation. It feels good to have texts and calls from people throughout the day. But what if you could give this validation to yourself?
Sounds fun, right?
Therefore, try to switch off from your digital and social life for a while and talk to yourself. Once you learn to tune in with your thoughts, you will understand that you don’t really need validation from others.
2. Ease yourself in the process.
If the thought of spending time alone makes you anxious, don’t go about starting a Netflix movie marathon the very next moment.
The trick is to ease yourself into the process slowly. Build your tolerance slowly. Find activities that interest you and make you feel calm when the anxiety of being alone overwhelms you.
3. Explore new hobbies.
If you are worried about spending time alone, here’s an easy way to ease yourself into the practice. Most people who were initially anxious about being alone experienced a new-found love for their company when they started indulging in hobbies they loved.
So, if you struggle to enjoy your company, find a hobby you like and want to do alone. Being alone gives you the perfect opportunity to try new things without distractions.
While being alone is regularly confused with being lonely, it’s essential to understand that there are multiple benefits of spending time alone for your mental and cognitive health.
If you are anxious about spending time alone, we hope these multiple benefits and tips on enjoying your company will help you get started the right way.
If you want more tips on how to navigate alone time, here are the best books for you.
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