By Marie Miguel | BetterHelp.com
Some people spend an awful lot of time alone. You may live alone, or you may spend a lot of time away from the others in your home as everyone has their own activities and responsibilities. You may choose to be alone much of the time, or you may simply not have the resources to spend a lot of time with others.
Whatever the case, there are some definite advantages to spending time alone. However, there are also some pitfalls to spending too much time by yourself. It is important to find a balance that will benefit you and allow you maintain stable mental health while also maintaining your boundaries that you have likely put in place for yourself.
Being Alone Affects Your Physical Health
Spending a lot of time alone can affect your physical health as well as your mental health. Studies have found that people who spend vast amounts of time alone such as widows and widowers, confirmed bachelors, and single parents whose children leave the nest, all live shorter lives and have more health problems than those who spend time with family or a spouse.
On the other hand, many people who spend time alone have lower blood pressure and fewer problems with heart health, headaches, and similar stress related illness. This is thought to be because as solitary people they do not have many of the same stressors that people with intense relationships experience.
Really it is all about finding balance. Spending some time with family and friends is important to your physical health and life expectancy, but spending some time alone and setting healthy boundaries is also important to your health.
Being Alone is Addictive
Once you get a taste of spending a lot of time alone, it is difficult to make yourself be social when the time comes. The more time you spend alone, the more time you will want to spend alone. This is a trap that many people fall into. Even the most social creatures can become introverts by simply spending a lot of time on their own.
It is a good idea to force yourself to have at least once social engagement a week, or every other week. Spending some time with others is important for your mental health. While you may be very happy to go home alone afterwards, the socialization will be good for you and once you are there you will likely find that you enjoy it.
Being Alone is Reflective
Sometimes it can be a good thing to spend some time alone in quiet reflection. Such times can give you a valuable insight into different aspects of your life and give you ideas on what you might want to change for the future. Sometimes personal growth is best benefited by some quality time alone with your thoughts and feelings.
However, spending too much time in rumination is not a good thing. When you spend vast amounts of time going over the same thoughts, emotions and events over and over in your mind it can become obsessive. This is not a portent of personal growth, but is instead hindering you from living life in the present moment.
If you find yourself really spending a lot of time alone and thinking or ruminating on past events, thoughts or emotions, it can help to talk to someone to get out of your own head and overcome the obsession. A therapist is a great resource for this, and they can also help you find ways to get out and be social without affecting your boundaries.
About the Author
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.