Why Alone Time is Important

We live in a society where we’re more connected than ever. Through social media and being surrounded by hundreds of other students on campus constantly, it’s often hard to be alone.

There’s a prevalent societal pressure to always be interacting with others. As a result, we often see being alone as abnormal, but that is far from the case. Being alone can be good for you, according to science.

According to a study conducted by the University of Maryland, “consumers who forego hedonic activities alone are missing out on opportunities for rewarding experiences.” The study had found that there is no difference in how people identify the experience, whether they are accompanied or alone. The negative experience comes when the person is thinking about how others perceive his or her aloneness.

Take eating dinner, for example. There is nothing inherently uncomfortable about sitting alone; what is uncomfortable is the idea that people are seeing them and the fear that others are judging. This fear is often dissipated by a “reason,” whether legitimate or not, such as using a laptop or reading a book.

But once one overcomes the worries of others’ perceptions, they can reap the benefits of alone time. In fact, being alone can actually boost your creativity. By being alone, it’s easier to clear out the distractions in your life. The number one habit of creative people is actually solitude. By spending time alone, you’re allowing yourself to think more deeply about different issues, leading to more reflective thought.

A 1997 study had also found that young adults who had spent an intermediate amount of time alone were better adjusted to social experiences than those young adults who spent very little time alone. Much like how being alone can further develop your creativity by allowing for deeper thought, alone time can also lead to becoming more mindful.

Alone time can also lead to the increase in productivity. Completing a task alone reduces the risk of social loafing, which is often a large cause of unproductivity. Social loafing is the concept that people will contribute less to a task when they work in a group setting than when they work alone. When you’re alone, you’re typically more motivated and will exert more effort into getting a task done.

So the next time you’re eating alone, don’t feel the social pressure to pull out your laptop. Take a moment and appreciate all the benefits that come with alone time.