THE LONGER I LIVE…

The longer I live, the more i know. The more I know…………… …………the less I understand.

The Psychological Effects of Solitude

There are both positive and negative effects of solitude. Much of the time, these effects and the longevity is determined by the amount of time a person spends in isolation.  The positive effects can range anywhere from more freedom to increased spirituality, while the negative effects are socially depriving and may trigger the onset of mental illness. While positive solitude is often desired, negative solitude is often involuntary or undesired at the time it occurs.

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As a pleasure

Solitude does not necessarily entail feelings of loneliness coming into picture of an internal desire as opposed to an unmet longing for social contact. In the context of religious forms of solitude, saints who prefer silence find immense pleasure in their uniformity with cosmos even in a single room. Buddha attained enlightenment through uses of meditation, depriving sensory input and bodily necessities, namely external desire sought throughout social interaction as one of them. The context of solitude is attainment of pleasure from within, rather than seeking it in the external world. In references of psychology, as introverted individuals require spending time alone away from people to recharge, or are simply socially apathetic might find it a pleasurable environment to be busied with solitary preoccupations.

Positive Effects

Solitude is not necessarily a negative concept. While negative effects may arise from too much solitude, there are many benefits to spending time alone (within reason). Freedom is considered to be one of the benefits of solitude. The constraints of others will not have any effect on a person who is spending time in solitude, therefore giving the person more of a scope to his actions.  A person’s experiences are shaped by the people he interacts with. With increased freedom, a person’s choices are less likely to be affected by exchanges with others.

A person’s creativity can be sparked when given freedom. Solitude can increase freedom and moreover, freedom from distractions has the potential to spark creativity. In 1994, Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found that adolescents who cannot bear to be alone often fall short of enhancing any sort of creative talents.

Another proven benefit to time given in solitude is the development of self. When a person spends time in solitude from others, he may experience changes to his self-concept. This can also help a person to form or discover his identity without any outside distractions.  Solitude also provides time for contemplation, growth in personal spirituality, and self-examination. In these situations, loneliness can be avoided as long as the person in solitude knows that they have meaningful relations with others. 

Negative Effects

Too much solitude is not always considered beneficial. Many of the negative effects have been observed in prisoners. Often, prisoners spend much time in solitude, where their behavior may worsen.

Negative effects of solitude may also depend on age. Elementary age school children who experience frequent solitude may react negatively. This is largely because, often, solitude at this age is not something chosen by the child. Solitude in elementary age kids may occur when the kids don’t know how to interact socially with others so they prefer to be alone, causing shyness or social rejection.

While teenagers are more likely to feel lonely or unhappy when not around others, they are also more likely to have a more enjoyable experience with others if they have had time alone first. However, teenagers who frequently spend time alone don’t have as good of a global adjustment as those who balance their time of solitude with their social time.

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Solitude is painful when one is young,
but delightful when one is more mature.
  ~ Albert Einstein

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Filed under: Social, society

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