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Being Alone Is Scary, and a Great Use of Your Time

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Being Alone Is Scary, and a Great Use of Your Time

Why Creating Quiet Space for Yourself Is Crucial to Your Well-Being

By Brent Flory

When I was younger I used to think that extroverts liked people, and that introverts disliked people. Since I mostly enjoyed people and didn’t want to be known as antisocial, I quickly learned to identify myself as an extrovert.

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It wasn’t until I was in college that I learned that my definitions of extrovert and introvert were way off. It isn’t about whether or not you like your fellow human beings, it’s all about how you get energized. This understanding gave me the confidence to begin to admit that was I an introvert because I desperately need time alone to recharge my batteries.

Did you know that whether or not you identify as an extrovert or introvert that time alone is vital for you? I doubt many people would strongly disagree with that idea on the surface.But how often do you intentionally spend a chunk of time being away from others in a quiet place?

When taken to the extreme, noise pollution can affect your sleep, your heart, your mental health, and your school, work, and social performance. However, most of us don’t mind noise when it isn’t overwhelming. Rather, many of us crave noise and seek to surround ourselves with it.

Do you constantly listen to music in the car, or when you are walking? Do you have the TV on all the time, even if you aren’t watching what’s on it? Are you checking your phone incessantly for new emails, messages, or social media updates?

What drives us to envelope ourselves with sound and stimulation at all times? Is it really that you need constant noise, or are you trying to avoid silence?

I think for many of us, it’s the latter. We avoid spending much time being alone. After all, we knowsolitary confinement can cause people great psychological harm. Yet I don’t think we steer clear of time alone because we fear losing our mental health.

You refrain from spending quiet time alone because:

1. You fear being alone with your thoughts.

Many people avoid time alone due to a fear of experiencing loneliness while being away from the crowds.

2. You aren’t being productive.

If an activity isn’t getting things done, then you tend to think it’s a waste of time. This is a mindset I tend to subscribe to myself.

Despite these and other reasons we try to not spend time alone, there are many better reasons as to why we should spend time by ourselves.

Why You Need Quiet Alone Time

1. It gives you time to think.

How much of your life is lived being reactive instead of proactive? Slowing down and stopping gives you a chance to think about your life, where you are going and what you want. The fast track isn’t a great path to be on if you are heading for a brick wall. It’s well worth taking the time to ponder whether you are moving in a direction that is truly fulfilling.

2. You can get clarity.

Tough decisions you have to make can become very clear when you take time to sit and think them through without being bombarded by constant noise and stimulation.

3. Creativity is sparked.

I’m not very creative when I’m stressed out. Odds are neither are you. Creating space gives room for the creative juices to flow.

4. It reduces anxiety.

Being perpetually confronted by noise takes a toll upon us. Slowing ourselves down, being in nature and lowering our noise intake can also decrease our anxiety levels.

A friend shared several months ago that his doctor ordered him to spend time in nature because his health was failing. The doctor was giving sound advice. Time in nature is healing.

I’m not saying you have to go on a seven day backpacking trip. It can be as simple as getting away for an hour to go for a walk in a local park. Regardless of how or where you spend the time, being alone and quiet is good for your health, physically and emotionally.

Investing in being alone in a quiet spot can improve your performance, your health, and give you more peace. Make a commitment to spend thirty minutes after work in a quiet place for the next week. It’s a small investment that could make a massive difference in your life and career.