We live in a very social world, constantly surrounded by people. Even when we’re at home and no one’s around we can still communicate through e-mail and texting and social media, so even then we’re not “alone.” We’re always told that when someone is alone they must be sad or have no friends, when in reality the person may simply enjoy being alone. There is a social bias against solitude. People link solitude with people who are lonely, sad, or with antisocial tendencies. Solitude has been, sadly, underestimated. And it’s actually quite healthy!
“I like hanging out with friends just as much as the next person,” says Hannah Young, 15, from Westlake High School. “But I sometimes go away from all that and just spend time by myself. It’s nice and really relaxing.”
Increases Your Focus
Like Hannah said, being alone is therapeutic. Disconnecting from the complex, wired world by being alone gives your brain time to unwind. Constantly being around others can be distracting, so when you’re alone you get a chance to clear your mind, to focus, and to think. And by having a clearer mind and less distractions, you’ll be able to concentrate better on any work to be done. After all, it’s hard to study for that big test when you’re surrounded by a lot of people talking.
Not only can solitude refocus your mind and make you more productive, but it also provides time for you to think deeply. It seems hard to think about anything when the world is constantly buzzing, but when you’re alone and without distractions you can meditate and mull over things. Why do you think many great ideas come during showers or late at night? It’s because you were alone!We’ve all had those “eureka!” moments while going to sleep, and sometimes you can feel like philosopher when taking long showers. It’s all because we let ourselves be alone.
Gabriela de Caro, a sixth grader at Regents School of Austin, says, “I like being on my bed staring at my ceiling at night. I actually get a lot of cool ideas. Like one time I was stuck on a play we had to do at school, and after thinking a bit I figured out which part fit me the best!”
Helps Find Your Own Voice
Solitude gives you an opportunity to find your own voice. Psychology Today writes that “When you’re a part of a group, you’re more likely to go along with what the group is doing or thinking, which isn’t always the actions you would take or the decisions you would make if you were on your own.” And in finding your own voice, you discover more about yourself.
Rachel Prichett, 16, says “everyone has a ‘mind palace,’ and being alone helps me explore my own…it’s funny because I learned a lot more about myself than I ever knew before.”
Every person has an inner world full of creativity. Take time to disconnect by turning off the phone, the Internet and the TV. Give yourself some time to just be alone. Whether it happens early in the morning, at night, at lunch, or any other time, you decide. You’ll be surprised by just how rewarding solitude actually is!