8 Benefits of Spending Time Alone
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Spending time alone is good for you. In fact, there are so many benefits to being alone occasionally that if you’re not doing it now, it's something that you should schedule into your days.
“Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.” -Rumi
1. It’s Important to Enjoy Your Own Company – If you’re someone who thinks that person at the corner café reading a book alone is lonely, think again. Being alone can be very meditative, enabling you to just be without having to entertain anyone. When you can learn to be in the moment with yourself, you’ll be a better friend to others too.
“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.” -Unknown
2. Alone Time Encourages Creativity – When you’re alone, it’s easier to get into a creative space so that you can think of new ways to do things. It’s only when you can be alone and centered that you can come up with the best ideas, due to the lack of distractions getting in the way of your thoughts and ideas.
“Be alone. Get inside your mind. Figure things out. Grow.” -Unknown
3. You’ll Get More Done – There is no doubt that if you also turn off electronics when you’re alone, you’ll get more tasks done than if you’re with others. With no one to distract you to do something else, you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in one hour alone compared to five hours with a friend.
“Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself.”
-Zen Master Dogen
4. It’s a Great Way to Recharge – Anytime you’re feeling stressed out, try getting at least 10 minutes alone to just breathe. Take a brisk walk. Listen to music. Take a long shower. Do what you can to spend some time alone to revive your mind and body.
“I meditate so my mind cannot complicate my life.” -Sri Chinmoy
5. Helps Improve Depression Symptoms – Studies have shown that spending time alone can help improve problems with depression. Some people think it’s the opposite, but that’s not true. You may notice that teenagers often need a lot of time alone in their room. This can actually be healthy because it helps them deal with the stress of the world in a healthy way and process their thoughts and feelings.
“Meditation is a way for nourishing and blossoming the divine within you.” -Amit Ray
6. Enables You to Clear Your Mind – Do you have too much noise in your brain to focus? Go take a few deep breaths alone. It will only take a few moments. It’s better if you can find an hour or so a day of alone time but if you can’t, even a few moments to breathe can help you clear your mind.
“Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.” -Rainer Maria Rilke
7. You Can Better Let Go of Stress – Some stress that we experience in life is caused by too much activity, too many people, and too much pressure on your time. If you schedule in alone time, you’ll find that you deal with that stress while it’s happening more efficiently.
“Shine like the whole universe is yours.” -Rumi
8. You Can Do Anything You Want To – The fact is, if you choose an hour a day to spend alone, you can do whatever you want with that time. You can sit there and stare at the wall without judgement, or you can meditate, take a walk, exercise or even watch your favorite TV show without interruption. It’s totally up to you how you spend your alone time.
There are enormous benefits to spending time alone. It doesn’t have to be lonely. There doesn’t need and shouldn’t be activity continuously happening with tons of people around at all times. Human beings aren’t built to always be "on". Sometimes we need to shut down - and not just at bedtime. If you want to be healthier, happier, and a more well-rounded person, try to schedule in alone time each day.