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Do You Spend Enough Time Alone?

Posted Apr 06 2009 1:33am
I love to be alone.  This may sound absurd, but for me, being alone is somewhat therapeutic.  On one hand, you could chalk this up to the fact that I am an only child.  Many only children are very comfortable being alone and are happy doing things by themselves.  Or, you might think it is because I am an introvert (Although I have very extroverted moments, I am indeed an introvert at heart).  Whatever the case may be, when I don’t have enough time for myself, I feel drained, antsy and over stimulated.  As a result, alone time becomes very important.

It doesn’t matter what I do when I am alone, as long as I get my ‘me time’ fix.  I might shop.  I might write.  I might take a run.  I might take a bath.  I might even just veg out in front of the TV.  Whatever the activity, it gives me the time I need to get away from others and to let myself recharge.

Being alone isn’t a statement about your relationships.  Although I believe that relationships with others are a very important aspect to life and to our happiness, spending time alone is also extremely beneficial to our mental health and happiness. Here is why:

  1. Self Discovery: Spending time alone gives you the ability to discover things about yourself and to get a real understanding of who you are.  We have grown to appreciate the art of getting to know others, but in reality, it is even more important to get to know ourselves, our preferences, our likes and dislikes without other people’s influences.
  2. Higher Sense of Independence and Increased Self-Esteem: Being alone and getting comfortable with being alone gives you a higher sense of independence.  Relying on yourself to make choices and decisions increases your self confidence, which then permeates other aspects of your life, including the times you are in the presence of others.
  3. No Need to Compromise: Often, we compromise when we are in the presence of others.  We usually work with one another to reach agreement on everything, from what we will have for dinner to what TV show to watch.  Spending time alone allows you to indulge yourself with the things you want to do and the things you love, without any negotiation.
  4. Rejuvenation for Your Soul: Getting away from others allows you to decompress and relax.  It gives you a break from the have tos and allows you to focus on the want tos.  It lets you address your own needs as opposed to everyone elses and gives you the opportunity to rejuvenate and push the ‘restart’ button.
  5. A Fresh Perspective: Time alone gives you the opportunity to clear your mind and to weed through a lot of thoughts.  This allows you to get to the heart of what YOU really think as opposed to being told or influenced by others and their opinions.  It gives you time to reflect on what is important in your life and how you feel about every day situations that need to be addressed.
  6. Higher Appreciation for Those You Love: Giving yourself the ability to be alone allows you to have a greater appreciation for the time you spend with others.  If you never have time for yourself, you’ll wish you did.  It is important to find some balance in this; but once you do, you’ll enjoy your relationships even more.

If you find that spending time alone is challenging, try to start with a small ‘dosage’ each day…even if it is for only 5 minutes.  Each day, try to amp it up by a minute or so until you get to an hour.  After practicing being alone, you will find it comes more naturally in time.

Do you like to spend time alone?  What benefits have you seen from ‘you time’?

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