Although I am always comfortable in large groups and generally enjoy the company of other people, I still consider myself to be a bit of an introvert. If I sought justification for this categorization, I could probably point towards my proclivity for introspection and my love for independent activities such as reading and writing. While some people view the solitude engendered by such activities in a negative light, research has found that being alone can bring us numerous mental and physical advantages. Here are three:
1. Solitude Enables You To Rejuvenate Your Brain.
As many psychologists and health experts know, being “on” all the time is unhealthy because perpetually active mental states preclude your brain from resting and thus replenishing itself. To ensure that your brain can rest and recover, you should make sure that you take time to be by yourself without any external distractions. Doing so will give you the ability to clear your mind, think clearly, and focus. In summing up how solitude contributes to brain function, psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter notes that “It’s an opportunity to revitalize your mind and body at the same time.”
2. Solitude Increases Productivity.
There seems to be a never-ending pile of research regarding how to increase productivity. In addition to setting goals and avoiding the enterprise of multi-tasking, studies indicate that solitude can increase your level of productivity. Why? Because when you eliminate the interruptions and distractions that result from being in the presence of others, you are able to concentrate more efficiently. When this happens, you can complete more tasks in a shorter period of time.
3. Solitude Facilitates Self-Discovery.
While participating in groups is an ideal activity given the fact that humans are social beings, solitude brings with it a unique set of benefits as well. One of those benefits is the ability to find your own voice (or discover yourself.) As many social scientists know, being a member of a group increases the likelihood that you will engage in the actions and attitudes of that group. Despite this proclivity to conform to group norms, however, the actions and attitudes you begin emulating are not necessarily the ones you would partake in if you were by yourself. In getting away from groups, we oftentimes liberate ourselves from a mode of being and knowing which does not really reflect our own will or mindset. By residing in a state of solitude for extended periods of time, we gain the ability to think critically about our own existence and learn more about our own values, goals, predilections, and dreams.
While participating in group activities is an important and advantageous enterprise to engage in, being alone is equally valuable. In considering the benefits of solitude listed above, I hope you’ll take time out to enjoy your own company every once in a while. Good luck!