Solitude Can Increase Your Mental Health


“So I gotta sit here and my dessert alone like I’m f*cking Steven Glansburg?” This is a classic line from a classic comedy but I want to use it today to make us think. Could being more like Steven Glansburg actually improve your life? My opinion says yes. Now let me tell you why.

Finding time for solitude is an important aspect of human nature especially in today’s world. It has never been easier for people to connect with other humans. In an instant, you can be talking face to face with your friend who lives across the country or tuning in live/interacting with someone in London. But is all this connection serving us the way it should? The ease of all this connection is taking away from our ability to spend time alone.

Spending time by yourself has many health benefits. This can help you to sleep better, reduce stress and help to better regulate your emotions to name a few. Solitude will also give you time to truly understand who you are. This is a key to success. Once you know who you are, you can figure out what you want to go after in life. It can also increase your creativity as well as productivity and allow you the ability to do more of what makes you happy. Studies suggest that time alone and showing self-compassion (both are key) can decrease anxiety and depressive thoughts.

Now I am not advising we all just spend time by ourselves all the time. We need connection with others too. But here are some signs that indicate some alone time would be beneficial to you. You are getting irritated by small things you usually would brush off. You are tired even though you are getting enough sleep. You have a sense of overwhelm and cannot concentrate. You are regretting plans that you would normally be excited about. If you are experiencing any of these, it may be time to take yourself out on a date.

Choosing solitude is not easy. For some of us it will feel very uncomfortable but you have to lean into the discomfort. Start small and just find 5-10 minutes to be alone with your thoughts. Just sit and let them come and go. Logging off social media is a great way to spend time alone because it eliminates that possible distraction. Figuring out what works best for you is also important. For some it could be spending time in a quiet place just thinking, for others it could be going on a solo hike. Make sure you communicate your needs to your partner, friends, family and co-workers. Let them know it is nothing personal but you just need some time to yourself.

Solitude can be a scary thing. At first, it may seem like you are choosing loneliness, but you’re really just choosing to be with yourself. Solitude gives you time to recharge with no stipulation attached. Try finding time to be more like Steven Glansburg and what your mental health flourish.