Updated: May 21, 2020
Solitude. We all seek solitude now and then. But why do you seek it? Do you seek time alone for positive reasons, such as because you enjoy it, or because it helps you recharge, or it sparks creativity or solutions to problems? Or do you seek alone time for reasons such as you don't enjoy socialising, perhaps you get anxious about being around people, or feel you always say something stupid?
Your reasons for why you seek solitude makes all the difference as to whether it's going to promote your well-being or set it back.
A study conducted by Thomas & Azmitia (2019) explored correlations between reasons for seeking solitude and well-being outcomes. One important finding was that spending time alone for negative reasons was linked to greater feelings of depression.
So if you seek solitude, what's your motivation? Some common motivators for seeking solitude can be depression, loneliness, and introversion tendencies. Understanding what's motivating your need for solitude is very important. Studies have shown that people who like themselves more are those who reported enjoying time alone, whilst those who reported seeking solitude to avoid others liked themselves less (Thomas & Azmitia, 2019). Getting to the bottom of why you seek solitude may take a bit probing, and may make you feel uncomfortable but it's a crucial step and should be explored. If there's anything to take from this it's that we all should have some understanding of what solitude means to each of us. Regardless of whether someone's reasons for seeking solitude are positive or negative, we shouldn't be judgemental of those who like their time alone.
Thomas, V., & Azmitia, M. (2019). Motivation matters: Development and validation of the Motivation for Solitude Scale – Short Form (MSS-SF). Journal of Adolescence, 70, 33-42.