Why Should I Spend More Time Alone?
I love my family and friends. But I absolutely love spending time by myself. To me, there is no better feeling than being able to sit alone in silence and enjoy my own company, especially after spending a lot of time with others. As an introvert, I can only take so much “together time” before my energy is drained and I am craving a quieter, less stimulating place.
If you aren’t an introvert like me, this might not seem so necessary or attractive to you. You might be just fine with the sporadic alone time you get. But maybe you also find yourself feeling “lucky” when your plans get cancelled for the weekend, or when you finally get some alone time on the couch in your pajamas and you ultimately realize just how much you needed this break. Whatever the case, we can all benefit from some time alone.
Granneman (2017) outlines some of the life-changing benefits of spending time alone.
You’ll show up better for the people in your life.
When you aren’t getting enough time alone, you can start becoming resentful towards others and snap at little things. You might start wondering if it was a good idea to start a family. You get angry at your husband when he asks where the milk is. You snap at your kid when they forget their lunch.
You will probably find that you become a more pleasant person when you get some time alone. You actually want to talk to your roommate about their latest date. You ask your coworker how their weekend was, because you’re genuinely curious. Taking more time for yourself actually makes your relationships better.
You’ll get smarter.
Although there’s nothing wrong with spending your alone time with binge-watching your favorite shows, you can also spend some time reading books or listening to podcasts. Doing these more stimulating activities for your brain can help to keep your brain sharp, as well as make you more empathic.
You’ll improve your health.
Another way you can spend your time alone is with doing something healthy, physically or mentally. This can include things like meditation, running, yoga, and more. There are many benefits to doing things that get your body and mind active, including alleviating stress and increasing feelings of happiness and well-being.
You’ll solve problems and optimize your life.
Taking a step back from social situations can give you more time to plan and organize things in your life, as well as process through and reflect on different events. For example, you might have more time to organize the yearly training seminar you run for work. You might also be able to process through past negative relationships and think about ways you want to pursue healthier ones in the future. Introverts are really great at reflecting on their experiences, and sometimes that is best done alone.
You’ll get creative “aha!” moments.
Lettings your mind wander helps foster create incubation, which allows your brain to work on a problem in the background, subconsciously. This is something that is best done alone.
You’ll have more energy.
A recent study found that spending time alone is the best way to rest, regardless of if you are more introverted or extroverted.
You’ll feel calmer and happier.
Spending time alone allows you to focus on your own thoughts and feelings, and no one else’s. You don’t have to take into account anyone else’s feelings but your own. Spending time alone is a form of self-care and can help to prevent burnout. In fact, it is recommended that you spend at least 20 minutes a day doing something for yourself.
If you find yourself struggling with spending time alone, you may find it helpful to talk with one of our therapists at Symmetry Counseling. You can contact Symmetry today by calling 312-578-9990 to get matched with one of our licensed counselors for individual, family, or couples counseling in Chicago.
Granneman, J. (2017, December 27). 7 Ways Spending Time Alone Will Change Your Life. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-secret-lives-introverts/201712/7-ways-spending-time-alone-will-change-your-life.
Zoe Mittman, LSW Growing up, you may have imagined your 20s to be filled with excitement, love and adventures. But life happens and reality sinks in. Your life is not what you imagined. It is complex. Filled with both pain…
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