Modern day mainstream culture condemns the notion of spending time alone. People who do so are branded as lonely, socially awkward and ‘weird’. A sharp distinction needs to be drawn between ‘loneliness’ and the habit of taking out time for yourself. The former is statistically associated with an increased risk of heart disease and depression, whereas the later has a plethora of health benefits for your mind, body and soul. Let’s explore why and how spending quality time with yourself can be such a big game-changer.
Establishing dedicated periods of ‘Me Time’ could be pivotal in alleviating anxiety. When we isolate ourselves from the world, slow down and reflect, we give ourselves time to really evaluate and break down the issues plaguing our conscious and subconscious minds. We get the chance to look our mental demons in the eyes, and realize that they aren’t as scary as we thought they’d be. We wouldn’t get this opportunity if we’re constantly on the run, bouncing from one task to the other, one assignment to the next. It’s imperative to take time out to slow down and unwind.
Moreover, this simple habit allows us to clear our head of all the clutter and distraction in this fast-paced world. Social Media and cell phones have robbed us off our time and are constantly keeping us engaged, constantly cluttering our mind with (mostly) useless information. Let’s be real, Kim Kardashian’s antics won’t make a difference to our lives or work. Neither will the fact that Hamza and Osama are at Expresso’s. Your efficiency will improve. By taking a step back, you’ll get to see what really matters, and what doesn’t. Your brain will naturally start focusing on the things that need to get done. You’ll even save money, because the same amount of time spent ‘hanging’ with friends would inadvertently involve spending cash on some form of entertainment. Meditation is free.
Our lives have become unnecessarily complicated. Taking a break from the grind will give you a greater appreciation of the small pleasures. Those are really what life is all about.
A Study conducted by an emotional development expert, Reed W. Larson, showed that spending quality time with ourselves is extremely important in combating depression in younger adults. “Adolescents … who spent an intermediate amount of their time alone were better adjusted than those who spent little or a great deal of time alone”.
All this mental junk takes its toll on our productivity. It’s incredibly difficult to function and focus with so much superfluous information in our heads. Spending time alone allows us to clear our heads of this junk, and establish what’s really important to us and what isn’t. Once we throw off the shackles of distraction, our productivity and overall focus will skyrocket.
Studies show that taking out time for yourself is great for your creativity, as well. In the words of a renowned psychologist at WUSL, “Decades of research have consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas”.
It is crucial for human beings to realize that we came into this world alone, and we’ll be leaving it alone. Getting in the habit of taking out time for ourselves helps us come to terms with this reality. All too often, we make the mistake of believing that we need other people around us to be happy. This is far from the truth. Happiness is a mind game. Spending time alone will go a long way in driving you to that conclusion.
Institutionalize solitary breaks in your daily routine. It’s a daunting notion, but once you get used to it, you’ll never want to go back to the noise of your old life.