Wednesday, March 16, 2011

the power of lonely


by leon neyfakh
boston globe
march 6, 2011

i have wondered what happens  to folks who never get to be alone.
being from a small family, and now a widower,  i've been fortunate enough to have, by choice, ample 'me' time.

much as i love and learn from being around friends and other folks, i treasure time to myself.

when i see folks clustered at meetings, churches, or sporting events, i wonder when they get time to be alone, and what's wrong with them or me.

this recent article from the boston globe news site discusses the powers, even the necessity of chosen, not enforced solitude, to enhance our creativity and good mental and physical health.

You hear it all the time: We humans are social animals. We need to spend time together to be happy and functional, and we extract a vast array of benefits from maintaining intimate relationships and associating with groups. Collaborating on projects at work makes us smarter and more creative. Hanging out with friends makes us more emotionally mature and better able to deal with grief and loneliness.
Spending time alone, by contrast, can look a little suspect. In a world gone wild for wikis and interdisciplinary collaboration, those who prefer solitude and private noodling are seen as eccentric at best and defective at worst, and are often presumed to be suffering from social anxiety, boredom, and alienation.
But an emerging body of research is suggesting that spending time alone, if done right, can be good for us — that certain tasks and thought processes are best carried out without anyone else around, and that even the most socially motivated among us should regularly be taking time to ourselves if we want to have fully developed personalities, and be capable of focus and creative thinking. There is even research to suggest that blocking off enough alone time is an important component of a well-functioning social life — that if we want to get the most out of the time we spend with people, we should make sure we’re spending enough of it away from them. Just as regular exercise and healthy eating make our minds and bodies work better, solitude experts say, so can being alone....
the power of lonely  (continue reading)
by leon neyfakh

No comments: