7 Surprising Things That Happen When You Spend Too Much Time Alone

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effects of being alone
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There's alone time, and then there's TOO much alone time!

I am an introvert. 

In order for me to be at my best, I require chunks of time where I am alone. 

This doesn't mean I avoid people, this doesn't mean I don't like going out. Actually, it's quite the opposite! 

But where some people find social outings and constant activity restorative, I find a lot of draining and need time to myself (outside of just sleep) to really feel like myself again.

All of that said, there is a difference between being an introvert and being a person who spends too much time alone.

In the same way, being lonely is very different from being alone.

Getting time to be alone is crucial to almost every single person and definitely has its benefits. 

But being lonely or alone too much takes a real toll on the body, heart, and mind. 

 

Here are 7 major affects of loneliness. 

1. You talk to yourself. 

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When there is no one around you to talk to, you are going to talk to yourself. Humans are social; we have voices that we communicate with, and whether or not there is anyone around to share our thoughts with, we tend to want to share them anyway. 

There's no harm in this game. When it becomes a problem is when you start talking to your pets and waiting for them to talk back. That's never good. 

 

2. Pants become permanently optional. 

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When you are at home, clothing is optional.

Spend enough time at home all on your lonesome and you will quickly discover that pants aren't optional, they are evil.

This can make ever putting them on in order to leave the house challenging as hell. Trust me. 

 

3. "Meals" become a thing of the past.

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There are studies that say that "grazing" throughout the day instead of say, eating three square meals, is actually healthier for you. 

Sadly, I don't think these studies factored in the pie you've been working away on all day, or the seven stale marshmallows you are counting as "brunch". 

 

4. Your brain can benefit.

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According to this article from the Atlantic, spending time alone in the right way can be a "great psychological boon." We spend so much time locked into engagement, be it with other people, or more likely, our electronic devices. 

Taking time to disconnect can actually improve the way we think! 

 

5. Your cold could be worse. 

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This study featured on NPR reveals that people who are lonely report having more severe cold symptoms.

I'm an extreme introvert, and I just got over a bout of bronchitis after getting a very bad cold after getting shingles, so yeah, I guess that tracks. 

All joking aside, there's a big difference between being ALONE and being LONELY, right? Right. 

 

6. Your sleep is less restorative. 

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According to Psychologist John Cacioppo, people who spend a lot of time alone wake up more frequently during the night and spend less time in their beds NOT sleeping than people who are not alone, making for a shitty night's rest.  

Sleep is as essential to our overall wellness as water and air. Mess with these things and disaster may follow. 

 

7. You're more likely to die.

 

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A study shared in The Guardian reveals that spending too much time on your own can actually increase the rate of death. 

In the study shared there, The scientists tracked more than 2,000 people aged 50 and over and found that the loneliest were nearly twice as likely to die during the six-year study than the least lonely.