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Humans are described as social creatures by nature. This is true, but that does not mean many of us don't value our alone time. Like many creative types, I have always valued my alone time.
While I love my friends and family, some things I had to do on my own. For example, if I waited for friends to join me on trips, I would never travel anywhere. Waiting around for people to make a decision would result in missing out on many opportunities. So I have become an expert at solo travel.
I also noticed it is easier to meet new people when I travel or go to a bar on my own. Let's face it; people often clique off into their own groups which can make it hard to branch out when you are with others.
If you are not blocked off with your own group, it can make it easier for others to approach you. This is especially important as an adult, because it is harder to make new friends as an adult so you have to put yourself out there more.
When it comes to work, it is often easier to get things done when you are alone as well. I am not sure why this is, but it seems like there are less distractions when you are alone. During my media office days, I often got more done when I put the headphones on and get busy in my little bubble.
On the other hand, there are many benefits to having people in your life. From emotional support, to help with mundane tasks like moving furniture, humans need other humans. So, it is important to have a balance of time spent with others and time spent alone.
With that said, let's look at several benefits to being alone and doing things on your own.
Why Might Someone Like Being Alone?
There are several reasons why someone might enjoy their own company.
If you live in a culture based on consumerism, staying on a daily schedule can be tiring. There is always somewhere to be, something to do, someone to compete with. Being alone can be a welcome break from all of that.
It can be a time to relax and just be. Maybe you want to read a book, take a bath or lay in bed all day. Whatever it is, it is a break from the constant go-go-go of everyday life.
Sometimes being around others can be negative. If you are constantly around negative people, it can bring you down. Quality time alone can be a chance to focus on bettering yourself. This could be anything from taking an online course to reading self-help books.
This is your chance to work on yourself without outside distractions. In fact, one of the best solo activities for betterment of self includes meditation. Meditation has been shown to improve mental well-being, focus and concentration.
If you are creative, spending time alone can be the best way to get those ideas flowing. If you are constantly around others, it can be hard to focus on your own thoughts.
Think about it, when was the last time you had a great idea while you were with someone else? It is more likely you came up with that idea when you were alone. So give yourself some solitude to nurture your creativity when needed.
Many people deal with some form of introversion. As an introvert, they usually prefer to spend more time alone than with others. This is not to say they do not like people, they just need more quiet time to recharge their batteries.
There is nothing wrong with being introverted. In fact, many of the world's greatest thinkers were introverts. Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and the late musician, Prince, are just a few of the many famous introverts.
9 Benefits of Being Alone
Whatever the reason for needing solitude, there are several noteworthy benefits to being alone.
Benefit #1. Give Yourself a Break
As mentioned, spending time alone can be a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you live in a fast-paced environment, it can be nice to have some time to yourself to relax and recharge.
We are constantly being overstimulated in society, so it is important to have some time where we are not being stimulated. This can be anything from taking a bath to sitting in silence.
Benefit #2. Improved Focus
When you are alone, you can focus on your own thoughts and ideas. This is especially beneficial for creative types who need time to think and reflect. The ability to focus on your own thoughts can lead to improved problem solving skills and increased creativity.
Benefit #3. Improved Mental Health
Spending time alone can be a chance to focus on your mental health. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, it can be a chance to work on your self-care.
Mental health is just as important as physical health and deserves just as much attention. Improve your mood with some solitude.
Benefit #4. Improved Physical Health
If you are struggling with physical health issues, spending time alone can be a chance to focus on your recovery. This could be anything from working on your fitness to resting and recuperating. If you are someone with a lot of responsibilities,
Benefit #5. More Productive
If you are trying to be more productive, spending time alone can be a great way to get things done. This is because there are fewer distractions when you are by yourself. Some jobs such as IT, art, and writing can be easier to do when you are alone and can focus.
As I mentioned earlier, I simply could not be productive with my art with friends around distracting me. While I enjoyed the occasional office banter, I was way more productive when I could shut my door or put on headphones to handle the website.
Benefit #6. Improved Sleep
If you are struggling to sleep, spending time alone can be a chance to relax and wind down beforehand. This could involve reading or taking a bath before bed.
Benefit #7. Certain Hobbies
While it is great to be able to do hobbies and activities with friends or family, certain hobbies may be best to do alone. This could be anything from painting to playing an instrument.
As someone with an art background, I can attest to the fact that even when you are in a group art class, you will still need time in that situation to focus.
Once a non-art friend forced herself into a night drawing session I had back in college and ruined my night. Every other minute she needed my eraser or wanted me to comment on her art while I was trying to focus on what I was doing.
One thing, my college time taught me is that my art study or work time could simply not be done with friends.
Benefit #8. Enjoy Your Friends and Family More
There is a saying that “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. This is true in many cases because your time alone will allow you to enjoy your time with people more. You will appreciate your time with family and friends more if you have time alone to miss them.
You may be more eager to compromise and do things with friends and family that are not your preference if you have the alone time to do the things you love. For example, I know many people (including myself) who love going to movies by themselves because it is their “me time”.
They can choose the movie they actually like, get there early to get the best seat, and don't have to worry about talking during the movie. Then, when they are with friends or family, they are more likely to go see a movie that the group wants to see.
Benefit #9. Improved Relationships
Spending time alone can be a great way to improve your relationships. This is because you will have more time to focus on your relationship with yourself first. This can be anything from working on your communication skills to spending time in nature. As a result, you can have more confidence and more to talk about when you are around people.
Pro Tip: Ways to Make Time to Be Alone, Without Making Others Feel Bad
Sometimes, our loved ones may feel a certain way when we need to set ourselves apart for a bit. Here are some tips on how to prevent others from feeling bad when you seek some solitude.
How the World Has Benefited From People Who Needed Alone Time
Another thing to consider if you feel bad about needing time alone is how solitude has changed the world. Some of the best inventions or discoveries have resulted from people who needed time alone to think or work.
For example, the theory of evolution was discovered by Charles Darwin during a five-year voyage where he was mostly alone. This led to him developing the theory of natural selection, which is one of the most important scientific theories today.
Inventors like Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were also known for spending a lot of time alone to work on their inventions. Tesla is responsible for developing alternating current (AC), while Edison is credited with inventing the light bulb.
Many famous works of art, literature, and music were created by people who spent a lot of time alone. The late Van Gogh was known for his seclusion, and he painted some of the most famous pieces of art in history. J.D. Salinger wrote The Catcher in the Rye while he was living in seclusion, and Beethoven composed some of his best work while he was alone.
So, if you’re ever feeling bad about needing some alone time, just remember that you could be the next Darwin, Tesla, or Edison. Or, at the very least, you’ll likely benefit in some way from taking a break from social interaction.
Final Thoughts about the Benefits of Being Alone
While there are many benefits to being alone, it is important to make sure that you are not isolating yourself. It’s all about balance. A healthy amount of time alone can make one productive and relax the mind. In fact, some occupations and hobbies require decent alone time.
It is only when we start to isolate ourselves that problems can occur. This can lead to anxiety and even depression. If you find yourself feeling lonely, there are many ways to combat that feeling. There are always people available to listen if you just ask. If your design to be alone feels healthy and right to you… then go with it.
And don’t feel bad about it; just be sure to leave your door open for the occasional visitor. If you want to read more about your craving for solitude, check out the article, Why Do I like Being Alone So Much?