There are certain people who love spending time alone. However, a recent study published by “Science” showed that many of us would rather give ourselves electric shocks than be by ourselves with nothing to do for 6-15 minutes. Why? There are definitely benefits to alone time. Given the fact that we spend most of our time with co-workers, family and friends and are often connected to social media, spending time by ourselves in solitude can be a treat for our minds and souls. It is time to learn how to enjoy spending time by ourselves.
We often assume that people who enjoy being alone are weird and antisocial. But recent studies have shown that people are more creative and feel more rejuvenated after deliberately withdrawing from social situations. It is restorative. Today especially, people feel overloaded being connected to the grid. Any time we have alone is being spent engaging with others on social media. We are not allowing ourselves time alone to figure out who we really are. Spending time with ourselves helps us to gain perspective, build self-esteem and have self-compassion. This makes us better people to be around. When we feel whole and content with ourselves, we have more empathy to give to others.
Being alone is not the same as being lonely. Loneliness is a perceived feeling of social isolation and has been linked to such negative things as heart disease and depression. One can feel lonely even in the company of others if they are dissatisfied with their personal relationships. It is a fear of loneliness that often prevents people from seeking solitude. However, by redefining solitude as being something positive and well-deserved, you will never mix up the two again. Rather than avoiding being by ourselves, we will seek it out to help balance ourselves and will become content with our own company, letting go of self-judgement.
Most of us are so busy juggling our work and personal lives that we can barely fit in a shower before jumping into bed and starting it all over again in the morning. We have to find a better way to fit in some solitude to suit our schedules. If we start with short bursts of time, like 10-15 minutes, it won’t lead to feelings of guilt that we are depriving our loved ones or being selfish by allowing ourselves some time alone. How you spend that time is personal. Some people like to read, some enjoy journaling and others like to spend it in nature. The idea is to enjoy the time for ourselves, not to turn around and post about it on social media.
After the realization of how much we enjoy being with ourselves sets in, and how less stressed and relaxed it makes us feel, we may become bolder. Perhaps you will be brave enough to take a solo drive to the beach for an hour or two or go see a movie alone. A weekend retreat alone could be just around the corner. When spending time alone becomes a treat and not a punishment, it is amazing how much time you can find to devote to your new best friend, yourself.
written by Toni DeCosimo