Spending time alone can be both therapeutic and psychologically healing

In Opinion
(Katie Albertson)

In a time when it’s virtually impossible to be left alone, the silence and seclusion of shutting one’s self off from the world sounds terrifying. Constantly being connected is a staple of this generation, but according to recent studies there’s a lot more to be gained from taking a break from everyone.

A 2017 study published by the New Delhi Television media company showed that people who spend time in solitude reduce their stress levels and lower their risk of depression and anxiety by participating in creative activities. The study also noted that gaining such creativity may improve mental health by improving the overall function of the brain.

Solitude is necessary and beneficial to one’s mental health from a psychological standpoint.

The thought of someone embracing seclusion as something that can bring about positive changes may seem oxymoronic, and it’s completely understandable to think so.

Sensationalized studies often link being alone with being unhealthy. It’s not hard to find a study that says it’s harmful to be alone, but that really doesn’t come with much merit. The basis of these studies are emotionally lonely people, not that that’s a bad thing inherently, but if one dwells on that subject for long it easily brings negative repercussions.

There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone. It might sound vague, but there’s an important dichotomy to note. Lonely can be considered someone who has nobody to go to, nobody that can be there for them or to be there for, alone is simply someone who chooses to isolate themselves for any number of reasons. The latter

While some studies tout that loneliness causes death, it’s the idea of solitude that people are stigmatizing.

The first question in a 2017 Forbes article about loneliness asks, “I am feeling so lonely. Can I die from it? Yes.”

Well, no, not necessarily. The study that this answer is derived from comes from research revolving geriatrics. So, perhaps being alone isn’t the best thing in old age, but there’s a myriad of ailments associated with old age that lead to one’s, unfortunate, but natural death.

There is a perception that isolation can harm our physical health, but when brought about by one’s own volition, isolation can be psychologically healing.

When people knowingly choose to isolate themselves from their day-to-day environment, they are rewarded with the necessary time to focus on themselves. With this comes the opportunity to truly escape from the pressures of society and avoid most types of conflict.

Stress and anxiety typically arise because of uncontrollable forces, like the judgment and expectations of others. Spending time alone helps the mind unwind and think about what is genuinely important in one’s life, instead of worrying about what has to be done for others.

Being alone can also be a huge confidence builder. When spending time by themselves, individuals can get in touch and assess the state of their confidence levels.

A 2014 study by psychotherapist and author Emily Roberts showed that embracing alone time is an important aspect to building strong self-esteem. The more one embraces their solitude as a way of self-care and therapy, the more confident and positive they will feel every time they do so.

It can also be used as a way to clear the mind. The brain is one of the primary organs in the human body and needs the proper amount of rest to recharge so that it may function well.

It’s not uncommon to feel exhausted after being around a large group of people, even if nothing physically exhausting takes place. The energy necessary to keep up a certain appearance around so many people drains an individual.

When one takes a step back and enters the realm of solitude, they become more observant and with that comes perspective. Solitude helps people gain valuable information to help understand other’s needs and wants better.

It’s often said that to understand another means to understand one’s self first.

CSUF psychology and sociology major Karina Cervantes said that independence is an essential key to learn more about oneself.

“Sometimes it’s good to be alone, just so you find yourself,” Cervantes said. “It’s good to be independent, it’s not necessarily healthy to be dependent on another person.”

So, instead of constantly feeling the need to hear other voices and being around people, take a break and get to know yourself a little bit, it’ll help out in the long run.

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