The Virtue of Solitude: Is Being Alone The New Therapy?
A lot has been published recently about loneliness and the negative effects of lonely right here on Medium. We’ve seen great perspectives from the likes of: What loneliness does to our body, to How loneliness and technology have defined our current political climate. It seems like, even though we are thriving in one of the most technological eras that our civilization has ever seen, the more hyper-connected we are, the more isolated and socially excluded we’ve become. The social media revolution has not changed these facts.
Loneliness has a painful, complicated nature, since a lot of psychological disorders are interlinked with it. And while a lot of research and efforts are being spent to tackle these widespread societal epidemics, the benefits of meaningful wanted solitude are usually pushed aside or ignored altogether since science has often aligned loners with negative outcomes.
As mammals, humans are indeed social animals. We extract a vast array of benefits from these social experiences that shape the way we behave, flourish, and develop in society. Social contact keeps us grounded and, highly contribute to our happiness and psychological well-being. Yet, an emerging body of research suggests that spending time in solitude — when done appropriately — has its perks.
Certain tasks according to science are better carried out when no one is around, except for ourselves. But, being alone — even when it’s a conscious well-thought decision — is often condemned and criticized. But, what is it about solitude and aloneness that make people uneasy? And, why are solitaires and hermits often stigmatized? Why the mistrust to those who decide to remove themselves for a bit to work on themselves?
As an individual who thoroughly enjoys the benefits of being alone, I often stumble upon these questions. As an avid reader and writer, I thrive in times of solitude. My craft needs it, depends on it, and feeds on it too. For me, there’s no better way to do what I enjoy…