The Significance of Solitude and your Wellbeing
Solitude or alone time can often have a negative connotation. Often people avoid the feeling of being alone or isolated, but contrary to its stigma, alone time can be highly productive. Solitude is extremely important for developing creativity, self-exploration, and renewing your energy (Coplan, et al., 2019). Frequently – especially in introverts – there can be a yearning for alone time to be able to recharge and spend time evaluating the day’s events. This desire for alone time can be referred to as aloneliness, the negative feelings that come from not getting enough time alone (Coplan, et al., 2019).
Whether you want to be alone or to be social, though, you’re alright. Both feelings are completely normal and valid in their own ways. However, being alone often carries an undesirable stigma or is thought of as having negative implications as far as your wellbeing or happiness (Coplan, et al., 2019). This perceived stigma and the contrasting positive impacts of being alone or taking time for yourself creates a paradox for many people (Coplan, et al., 2019). As we’ve discussed in a previous blog post on the importance of relationships on your happiness, we have an innate need to belong and social interactions are vital to our happiness. However, we also need to be self-reflective and aware if we need time to reconnect with ourselves. While there’s a lot of research on the need to connect, it is less well researched and talked about that we also have an innate need for solitude to develop and process emotions (Coplan, et al., 2019). Solitude and time for yourself is most enjoyable, brings the most happiness, and is most recharging when it is voluntary and intrinsically motivated rather than just being alone because you couldn’t find other plans (Coplan, et al., 2019). Studies have also shown that as we age, our view on solitude changes and we become more accustomed to being alone and comfortable taking time for ourselves (Toyoshima & Sato, 2017).
As far as being alone and our wellbeing, studies show that when solitude is self-imposed, it has no negative impact on our happiness (Coplan, et al., 2019). Ultimately though, a healthy balance is needed between alone time and social interaction. Being active and building relationships must be equally balanced by being present with yourself and giving yourself alone time (Hadassah, 2019). By designating time for yourself, you can increase your self-esteem and actually reduce your loneliness and create greater sense of relatedness to others when you do decide to be social (Nguyen, Werner, & Bart, 2019).
So, don’t be scared to designate time for yourself. It’s important for a balanced life. Pay attention to when you need to recharge because creating solitude for yourself can actually help you be more engaged, build healthier relationships, and feel happier when you do decide to be social. The social stigma of being alone may be large but act and fight against it and do what’s best for your mental health. It’s completely okay to want some alone time and it’s totally okay to want to go out and be social every day of the week. There is no wrong or right way to allot time for yourself as long as you are attentive to your own needs and are working to make yourself the best version of you.
Want some help setting aside time for yourself and finding ways to be more in tune with yourself? Check out our free meditation classes or our mindfulness and positive affirmation services. We have some awesome staff that can help you tap into your inner purpose and discover what will create the most happiness and wellbeing for you. Our 30/30 Wellness Workout will help you build both your body and your mind and emotional wellbeing so make sure to check that out and build the best you that you possibly can!
Coplan, R. J., Hipson, W. E., Archbell, K. A., Ooi, L., Baldwin, D., & Bowker, J. C. (2019). Seeking more solitude: Conceptualization, assessment, and implications of aloneliness. Personality and Individual Differences, 17-26.
Hadassah, L.-O. (2019). Doing–Being and Relationship–Solitude: A Proposed Model for a Balanced Life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 1953-1971.
Nguyen, T.-v., Werner, K. M., & Bart, S. (2019). Embracing me-time: Motivation for solitude during transition to college. Motivation and Emotion, 571-591.
Toyoshima, A., & Sato, S. (2017). Subjective Well-Being and Developmental Change. Journal of Adult Development, 139-148.