7 Unexpected Effects Of Spending Too Much Time Alone

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7 Things That Happen When You Spend Too Much Time Alone

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, I can be totally social when the time is right.

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. And the only person who can determine if you're spending too much time alone is you.

We all have different social needs, and a naturally extroverted person may find themselves needing a lot more time with others than an introvert like me.

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Neither of us are wrong. We are just different!

Similarly, getting time to be alone is crucial to almost every single person and definitely has its benefits — even for extroverts.

Regardless of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, being lonely or finding yourself alone too much takes a real toll on the body, heart, and mind. 

Here are 7 sort of unexpected things that happen when you are alone too much.

They're not all bad!

1. You talk to yourself. 

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. 

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2. Pants become permanently optional. 

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.

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". 

But if you can make this work for you, and take in healthy, nutritious foods all day long, you can really maximize your alone time. 

4. Your brain may actually benefit.

According to this article from the Atlantic, spending time alone in the right way can be a "great psychological boon." I guess that's a good thing?

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! 

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5. You may feel worse if you get sick. 

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. 

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.

This makes for a bad night's sleep. 

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.

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, 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.


With all that in mind, hopefully your "too much alone time" phase of life won't last longer than necessary, and that you're finding ways to connect with people — online, over the phone or even by shouting out your window at your neighbors (in a friendly way, of course!). 

Remember, being alone doesn't have to mean loneliness, and only you can determine if it's "too much". 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman.