Spending time with others is one of the basic needs of us human beings, but it doesn’t mean we should avoid solitude; if you’re an introvert, you may even enjoy and need solitude from time to time in order to recharge. Here are fifteen benefits of spending time on your own that will help you appreciate alone time.
1. Solitude = introspection
Typically, when we spend time with others, we direct our focus toward the outer world. We temporarily stop thinking about ourselves and our own life. Most of the time, and for most people, this is a good thing: for example, there may have been times in which you were upset or worried about something, and noticed that whenever you were surrounded by other people, you would feel better.
However, from time to time it is necessary to be introspective — whether it means fighting your inner demons, being aware of your thoughts and feelings, letting go of the past, or reflecting on what needs to change or improve in your life. Solitude allows you to practice introspection, so be grateful for it.
2. Solitude = more time
Compared to when you are alone, you almost always waste more time when you meet other people. For some, it’s perfectly enjoyable to spend their time talking to friends and doing nothing in particular; but if you have a type A personality, you may find it too boring or even frustrating — thus a “waste of time”.
So if you’re the kind of person who loves working on their own projects and learning new things, then you want to embrace solitude because it gives you the chance to think without too many distractions (more on this in a minute). The more selective you are in terms of social interactions, the more time you’ll have for yourself.
3. Good for highly sensitive people
Do you tend to find external stimuli overwhelming? If you’re a highly sensitive person, being around too many people for too long can drain your energy; just like hearing loud noises or seeing very colorful images can be unpleasant rather than stimulating.
Highly sensitive individuals will always find solitude comforting; it’s the state in which they can rechange and temporarily avoid all the noise of the external world. To them, alone time can truly be a blessing.
4. Solitude = clarity
Are you 100 percent clear on what you want in life — the things you’d like to experience, create, and achieve here on this planet? You should be: those who don’t have a purpose often feel lost, and usually end up working toward someone else’s dream rather than their own.
With that in mind, the fourth benefit of solitude is that it makes it easier to identify what you want in life regardless of other people’s opinions. All human beings tend to emulate those they spend time with (not just their friends: people in general), so spending too much time around others may prevent you from finding your ultimate purpose.
5. Less distractions
Unless you are a highly disciplined individual, you can get distracted in any kind of environment. And to be fair, some people find that when they are surrounded by others (for instance, in their office, or in a coworking space) they are generally more motivated to do work.
But for some of us, solitude can do wonders in terms of focus and productivity. I’m a big believer in eliminating distractions rather than dealing with them, so if you find people distracting and you want to work on a project or a hobby, spending time on your own is probably a sensible solution.
6. More money
Our spending habits change depending on who we go out with, and who we spend money for. For example, chances are that when you go out with a friend or a group of friends you are more likely to buy things you don’t really need; and when you buy someone a present, you justify buying a high quality expensive product.
Then, obviously, you need to take into account the money spent eating out, going to parties, and so on. Now, I am not encouraging you to live like a recluse just to save a few dollars; all I am saying is that being social can be expensive, so if you’re on a budget, you may need or want to go out less often.
7. Good for introverts
This is an obvious one, right? Though being an introvert doesn’t necessarily imply that you want to be alone all the time, introverts do appreciate solitude because it gives them the chance to work on their own projects and ideas.
And for most introverts, constant social interactions can be exhausting, especially with strangers, so it’s important that they spend time alone whenever they feel the need to recharge. Someone who’s extremely social and outgoing may find solitude frustrating, but for most introverts it can be a blessing.
8. No arguments
Is there someone in your life that no matter what happens, it always ends up in an argument, even if the issue has very little to do with you? Some people are more impulsive than others, and may find it difficult to control their emotions.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if it means wasting too much time arguing and shouting, you may want to consider taking a break and stop seeing them for a while. Endless arguing can ruin your mental health, and sometimes an extra dose of alone time is all it takes to regenerate the mind.
9. Dopamine detox
If you’re not familiar with the term, it basically means abstaining from all activities that cause pleasure for a certain period of time, so your brain can “reset” and go back to stable levels of dopamine. In turn, this gives you high levels of energy and motivation.
After a long detox, it feels like you’re doing everything for the first time, and it’s super exciting (kind of like eating delicious food after a fast). If you ever want to try this out, then solitude can definitely help, and in some cases it may even be necessary.
We are social animals. Even those who are highly introverted depend on others to live. We need to interact with other human beings to work, feel fulfilled, feel loved, grow, and become the best we can be.
However, just like it’s vital to have healthy relationships, it’s equally vital that we learn to be independent — not just financially, but also and most importantly in terms of how we feel. Even if it’s a bit scary at first, we need to learn to be happy even when we’re alone, and solitude can teach us that.
We already saw how after a dopamine detox all your daily activities become more enjoyable. If you imagine solitude as a “social detox”, then, it’s easy to see how it could help you appreciate and be truly grateful for the people you interact with.
After being alone for a while, it feels great to spend time with your family, your friends, and all those who love you. The human brain is designed to constantly chase new things, and we find it difficult to appreciate the things we experience on a daily basis. Solitude — the temporary absence of people — makes you realize how much you enjoy being around others.
If you believe there is something or someone greater than you, solitude can help you tune in to that. You don’t need to become a hermit, or do anything extreme: simply spending some time alone will help you get closer to your highest self.
We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible.— Hermann Hesse
13. Good for procrastinators
Is there something you know you need to do, but you just keep putting it off? In some cases, solitude could be the best solution for procrastination. When you are alone, and there’s no distractions whatsoever, doing what you are supposed to do becomes easier.
Our brain links achievement to pleasure, and doesn’t like to be bored. So when there’s no people to talk to, you may as well keep it busy by finally working on that project, or cleaning that room, or throwing away those old papers. If you tend to procrastinate, give it a try.
14. No energy vampires
Chances are that most of the people you interact with on a daily basis give you energy; when they’re around, you feel better. Unfortunately, from time to time we all have to deal with individuals who drain our mental and physical energy.
Some of them are easy to recognize, and once we do, we can either ignore them or cut them off. But in some cases, energy vampires can be subtle, to the point where we’re not really sure whether they genuinely care about us, or simply want to take advantage of our good nature. Solitude can help us reflect on who we truly want to be surrounded with.
15. Solitude is a luxury
Not exactly a “benefit”, but something to keep in mind. Ultimately, being able to spend time on your own can be viewed as a luxury. For example, staying at a hotel or a private apartment is more expensive than staying in a shared accommodation; having your own office costs more than renting a coworking space; and so on.
Depending on your personality type, you may enjoy solitude or avoid it like the plague, but in either case you need to realize that not everyone is able to experience it. So whenever you are alone, be grateful.
What do you like the most about being alone? Leave a comment and let me know! 👇