Wherever you go, there your friends are. Even when we're alone these days, SMS, Facebook, email and other technologies keep us connected to somebody, somewhere. Researchers suggest that alone time — not loneliness, but intentional solitude — is a crucial resource that too many are missing.Image via TheAlieness GiselaGiardino².
Leon Neyfakh of the Boston Globe narrates the findings of solitude studies in the recent and not-so-recent past. In general, researchers have found that being alone is a bit of a paradox: many don't feel actually happy when alone, but having periods of time away from the din of crowds seems to result in better moods from day to day. It's when we're along, Neyfakh suggests, that we hone our thinking, especially our opinions, and it's when personalities are sharpened, especially among teenagers.
John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago sums up one ironic pitch for being alone: it can make you a better friend.
"People make this error, thinking that being alone means being lonely, and not being alone means being with other people," Cacioppo said. "You need to be able to recharge on your own sometimes. Part of being able to connect is being available to other people, and no one can do that without a break."
How much do you value your alone time? Where do you go, and when, to get actual alone time?
The power of lonely [The Boston Globe]