Humans are social creatures.With the help of the bonds we form with each other, we’re able to create great works, be the change we want to see happen and find companionship and love. When we come together, there is a strength to be gained for everyone.
However, we also need to learn how to be comfortable with being alone.
As important as it is to be happy in one’s own company, it’s also a difficult task because, as a society, we equate being alone with some sort of deficiency. This notion has been dis-proven and the results found that those who identified as loners “had just as much ‘social capital’ — defined by physical attractiveness, height, weight, socioeconomic status, and academic achievement — as their non-lonely peers.”
In fact, there are benefits to being periodically alone.
1. Being Alone Offers Brain Benefits
One benefit of enjoying some “me time” is that the self-imposed solitude helps spark our creativity.
Research conducted by psychologist Keith Sawyer from Washington University has found that brainstorming groups actually come up with far less ideas than people who work alone and then pool their ideas as a group. The solitude helped them tap into their creativity which they were then able to share with others.
Allowing yourself time for solitude gives your mind the quiet, focus, and attention it needs to access it’s greater thinking and creating potential.
2. Give Yourself A Break
Even extroverts need to recharge.
According to Doctor of Psychology, Sherrie Bourg Carter, when we take moments to be alone, we are allowing ourselves a rest after constantly being “on.” In that state of solitude, you can clear your mind, gather your thoughts, recharge your batteries, and have the opportunity to reset.
That time alone will also increase your concentration by removing distractions such as social loafing to allow for a moment of clarity.
3. Time Alone Can Be A Relationship Rehabillitator
Since we are social creatures, it only stands to reason that anything that is good for the individual would also be good for our personal relationships.
When being by yourself, you can reflect more on the sort of companions and partners you want to have in your life. You may also grow to be more appreciative of your current relationships by spending some time away from them. That alone time can reveal or reaffirm your allegiances and priorities.
Professor Rachel Ratner wrote about her own solitary travels and found that she interacted with more people than she would have if she had traveled as a pair or with a group. Her time alone allowed her to meet new people on her own terms.
Practice productive solitude in small ways such as disconnecting in the evening or during your work commute. You can also close your door both physically and metaphorically at scheduled times to restrict interaction with others while granting yourself necessary seclusion.
Humans may be social creatures, but we all benefit when we give ourselves a little time to be alone, not lonely.