Find More Alone Time (Without Being Lonely)
Real Simple|February 2019

There are proven benefits to spending time by yourself. Learn to give yourself a time-out that feels like a restorative treat, not a punishment.

Melanie Mannarino

IF YOU’RE ONE OF THE RARE PEOPLE who like spending time by themselves, enjoy this article as validation of your natural instincts. If, on the other hand, you’re among those who would rather endure physical pain than spend time alone with your thoughts (true story: in a 2014 study published in Science, many of the participants preferred to give themselves electric shocks rather than spend 6 to 15 minutes by themselves with nothing to do), we’d like to change your mind about solitude.

People who value their alone time are often accused of being antisocial, aloof, or just plain weird. But recent research has uncovered positive benefits of solo time. “Studies show people feel rejuvenated when they are alone,” says Julie Bowker, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo in New York whose 2017 study revealed that unsociability— defined as deliberately withdrawing from social situations and choosing to be alone—was linked to an increase in creativity.

And those aren’t the only benefits of alone time, says Jack Fong, PhD, a professor of sociology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, who has studied solitude. “Today people feel overloaded being connected to the grid, and they’ve lost their ability to engage with the self,” he explains. “When you’re alone, you regain your center of gravity. You’re forced to confront yourself and get to know who you really are.” The payoff? “Solitude builds self-esteem, clarity, and empathy.”

Frame Your Mindset

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

RELATED STORIES

NEW OR USED? EITHER WAY, PRICE HIKES SQUEEZE US AUTO BUYERS

The viral pandemic has triggered a cascade of price hikes throughout America’s auto industry — a surge that has made both new and used vehicles unaffordable for many.

6 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #487

MARS ROVER'S GIANT PARACHUTE CARRIED SECRET MESSAGE

The huge parachute used by NASA’s Perseverance rover to land on Mars contained a secret message, thanks to a puzzle lover on the spacecraft team.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #487

IN YEAR OF PANDEMIC, HOME DEPOT BECAME SUPPLIER TO MILLIONS

The housing market was among the very few bright spots for the U.S. economy in the year of the lockdown and Home Depot became its supplier, racking up an unprecedented $132 billion in sales for 2020.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #487

GOODELL: NFL LEARNINGS FROM 2020 TECHNOLOGY HERE TO STAY

One of the major benefits of playing a full season pretty much on schedule during a pandemic is what the NFL learned technologically from 2020.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #487

FUNKY ELECTRONICS CHAIN FRY'S IS NO MORE

Fry’s Electronics, the go-to chain for tech tinkerers looking for an obscure part, is closing for good.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #487

FOXCONN LOOKING AT BUILDING ELECTRIC CARS IN WISCONSIN

Foxconn Technology Group said it has signed a deal with a California startup to build electric cars, conceivably at Foxconn’s facility in Wisconsin.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #487

FACEBOOK SAYS IT WILL PAY $1B OVER 3 YEARS TO NEWS INDUSTRY

Facebook, following in Google’s footsteps, says it plans to invest $1 billion to “support the news industry” over the next three years.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #487

Unpopularity Contest

THE CASE FOR FINALLY DOING AWAY WITH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

4 mins read
Mother Jones
March/April 2021

Tyranny of the Minority

DEMOCRATS MAY CONTROL WASHINGTON, BUT THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY IS FAR FROM OVER.

10 mins read
Mother Jones
March/April 2021

THE NUCLEAR OPTION

Biden has signaled support for a new generation of smaller nuclear reactors. Are they the path to a carbon-free economy—or just a bid to keep a troubled industry alive?

10+ mins read
Mother Jones
March/April 2021