I believe it was the Backstreet Boys, in their infinite and heart-wrenching wisdom, who once crooned, “Show me the meaning of being lonely.” Alas, I have an answer for last generation’s singular talent. As it turns out, solitude is really good for your soul.
Despite the stigma of being an introvert, or a loner, or a “loser” if you’d prefer to spend a weekend in and by yourself, there are actually a lot of benefits to some good old-fashioned alone time.
You’ll be more creative
No one ever penned a novel in an office setting. In order to be creative, you have to be alone with your thoughts and create a safe place. Being alone is usually necessary to create any kind of meaningful art. For those without creative careers, creativity is often utilized anyway in their jobs. If you’ve hit a wall with a presentation or a new pitch, take your work space home and squirrel yourself away for a while. You may see greater results.
It can help make a teenager happier
While prolonged loneliness can lead to unhappiness, studies have shown that teenagers who take alone time find that time refreshing and fulfilling, leading to greater happiness and less risk of teenage depression. Something about taking yourself out of the chaos of everyday life, and the expectations of others, has a calming effect that leads to more happiness.
It encourages you to take care of yourself
Taking time to be alone lets you create a dialogue with yourself, who you are, what you want, and what’s stressing you out. It’s an opportunity to figure out how to take care of yourself, instead of letting yourself be bogged down by the stressors of everyday life. Instead of focusing on what you owe others like your spouse, partner, friends, or boss, solitude lets you focus on what you owe yourself and how to treat yourself better.
It makes you more confident
Studies show that people who are happy being alone are happier in other aspects of their lives. Instead of focusing on what other people think of them, they focus on what they think of themselves. They have banished the stigma or shame of being seen alone while out, or of being home alone while others are out. Being comfortable being alone is a huge step to being comfortable with yourself.
It’ll make you smarter
Well, it’ll help your concentration and focus. Bonus points for work! People who take voluntary alone time and self-reflection have taught their brains how to focus and concentrate, without relying on others for support or help. Bad news for people who like to organize study groups: it’s much more effective to study alone than with others.
You’ll be more productive
Without distractions, you’ll achieve more and be happier and more satisfied with work or personal projects when you do them alone. The pressure to perform perfectly is lessened, and with only yourself to satisfy, you’ll be able to create and work more genuinely.
You’ll get to know yourself
I believe it was Carrie Bradshaw, in all of her infinite wisdom, who once said, “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.” If you don’t have a good relationship with yourself, you won’t have better ones with others. Loving yourself is the best way to love others, and solitude gives you that time to get to know yourself, outside of who you are with other people.
We’re all a little different with other people: it’s natural. Time alone resets your mind and lets you be free to be who you are, whoever that may be.