Isolation is one of the great complications of mental health. It’s a factor of depression, anxiety, addiction, and more conditions which most experts hope to prevent in order to keep those who grapple with their symptoms from wasting away in silence. But it can be argued that, while isolation is not great, a little solitude when you need to relax, recharge, and get your head together might not be a bad thing. As a matter of fact, science is changing its view on the mental health effects of a little alone time.
According to NBC News, a recent story in The Atlantic is raising new findings in the practice of being alone for bursts of time. Recounting that solitude for religious reasons and creative efforts has been happening throughout the ages, within the right context solitude can be a good thing. The issue is that in our hyper-connected world, we’re not quite certain how to do it and feel that withdrawal can be quite complex due to the fact that it’s considered counter-culture to seek alone time.
Scientists also aren’t quite certain as to how much of it is effective just yet. As Brett Crane writes in the Atlantic article, “Solitude can be restorative…Yet, because the study of solitude as a positive force is new, it’s hard to speak in precise scientific terms about it: We don’t know what the ideal amount is, for instance, or even if there is one. Most likely, such measures are different for everybody.”
When it comes to your mental health — particularly for us introverts — solitude can be absolutely necessary to the maintenance of a healthy mind and body. If you need to be alone to get your thoughts straight and to let you mind calm after an episode, don’t feel guilty for that need. Take a moment here and there for yourself when you need it. However, if it dips into a lack of motivation, interest, depression, or neglect of self-care, we advise reaching out to your doctor for a more balanced care plan.
Your mental health is in your hands, and sometimes a little alone time is needed. Take what you need for yourself, be kind to your system, and know that what you need is entirely okay.