It can be hard to be alone. Not necessarily because the state of being alone is in and of itself a bad thing but because of the loneliness that can result from it.
The fear of loneliness is so deep seeded in our society that, according to a study done by Harvard University and the University of Virginia, 67% of men and 25% of women would rather experience electric shocks than be alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes.
However, being alone doesn’t have to equate to being lonely. Well-founded research actually states that doing activities by yourself can be beneficial. Below is a list of the ways that being alone can benefit you.
1. You’ll get to know yourself better.
When you’re constantly listening to other people’s opinions of you, you’re bound to be influenced by how they perceive you. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, but don’t let it cloud your perception of yourself.
When you begin to take time for yourself and listen to your own thoughts, you’ll begin to understand yourself more. You may find that what you want or expect of yourself is different from that of others.
2. You’ll be more productive.
While it may be tempting to go to the library to study with a large group of friends, it’s rarely as productive as you would hope. Working on assignments alone will allow for few distractions, more clarity and therefore better quality work.
3. You’ll be able to do what you truly want to do.
Many people worry about how others will perceive them if they’re out in public alone. What if they think I don’t have any friends? Others may think that they won’t have as much fun if they go alone. But this mindset only results in people missing out on activities they would’ve otherwise enjoyed.
4. You’ll be more creative.
Being alone with your thoughts allows your mind to wander. While at first this may be uncomfortable and even cause some anxiety, allowing your mind to wander can produce good, creative ideas that you may have been avoiding or blocking out unintentionally.
5. You can stop compromising.
Compromising is an inevitable part of human interaction. But when you don’t take any time for yourself, you’re constantly sacrificing some of your happiness for others. It can be draining to constantly be trying to please people. When you take time alone you only need to concern yourself with your own desires.
6. You won’t need approval from others.
When you don’t take the time to get to know yourself and hear your own thoughts, you’ll seek validation and approval from others. To grow as person it is important to seek advice from your family, friends or professionals, but when you spend time alone you’ll begin to trust your own intuition and not only rely on others to make your choices for you.
Being alone may feel uncomfortable at first, but there is a long list of benefits that will have a lasting effect on your physical, mental and emotional health. No matter how busy your life is, take the time to be alone and practice this act of self-care.