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Take time out and avoid the stresses of the silly season – here’s how

Take time out and avoid the stresses of the silly season – here’s how

Take time out and avoid the stresses of the silly season – here’s how

If the silly season is feeling a bit overwhelming it may be time to carve out some alone time.

Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely, and research shows that solitude is important for both our physical and mental health.

Researchers from Rochester University have found that solitude can lead to both relaxation and stress reduction. The researchers define solitude as “as being alone for a period of time with no access to devices, personal interactions, external stimuli, or activities.”

Take 15 minutes alone time

In their studies, the solitude lasted 15 minutes and the subjects were instructed to sit alone and not engage in any activities or to carry out an activity alone as to think either positive or neutral thoughts. As we get more use to filling our time scrolling through social media, or flicking on the television, the practice of solitude becomes even more important. “Solitude can be valuable and useful at times, particularly when we want to switch off for a few moments,” says lead researcher Thuy-vy Nguyen, a Rochester doctoral candidate in clinical and social sciences in psychology.

Growing up in Vietnam, Nguyen says she enjoyed being alone as a child and teenager. Later, her curiosity was piqued when she realised that solitude was generally characterised as either simply good or bad – with a lot of literature pointing to its negative effects, that solitude was often associated with social rejection, withdrawal and isolation, shyness, and loneliness. “I decided to take a step back and just simply look at what solitude does, observe its effect, and let it speak for itself,” Nguyen explains as the starting point of her investigations.

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