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Mental Health

The Importance of Alone Time

If there is anything that I’ve learned during my past four years of college, it’s the importance of spending time by yourself. In a society that puts such a strong emphasis on group work and group living, it can be easy to get caught up in the idea that spending time alone is not normal. However, there are a lot of important benefits to reap from spending time by yourself.

First, it’s important to recognize whether you’re and introvert or an extrovert. Despite popular belief, this has nothing to do with how shy or outgoing you are, it simply explains how you react to energy. Those who are more introverted tend to get easily drained from social interactions, and recuperate by spending time alone, while people who are more extroverted become energized from social gatherings. Although alone time is particularly important for introverts, it can be just as beneficial for extroverts. Alone time for an introvert might consist more of writing in a journal, or meditating, while for an extrovert it might be more comfortable to spend “alone” time in a public place, for example in the library or a coffee shop. 

One of the greatest benefits I’ve found from spending time by myself is increased confidence. There are a lot of things that we do that can make us feel awkward, uncomfortable, or like everyone is staring at us, and being alone should not be one of those things. I hadn’t consciously thought about being alone until most of my friends went abroad during the spring semester of my junior year. Frankly, it was uncomfortable doing things by myself, particularly eating alone in the cafeteria, but the more I did those things alone, the more normal it started to feel and I stopped wondering “do people think I’m weird and have no friends?”. After getting over that hurdle, I realized how little others pay attention to you in public, and how little their opinion matters anyway. 

Another thing that I’ve benefited from is the clarity that comes from spending time alone. Solitude provides you with adequate time to think things over, and to become more in tune with your emotions. I recognize the importance of this now, and make a point to spend time alone before making a decision about something important. When you’re not distracted from anything else, you contemplate more thoroughly and make better quality decisions in the end.

As backwards as this may sound, spending time alone can enhance the quality of our relationships with others. Time spent alone can be used to reflect on yourself, and will allow you to better understand yourself. When you know yourself well, and you know what you want out of life, and out of your friendships, it makes it easier to choose people who will add value to your life.

 

Annabelle is a Senior at Clark University, finishing her undergraduate studies in Business Management, and starting her MBA studies in the 5th year accelerated degree program at Clark. She loves fashion, photography, and writing!
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