As a society, we're terrified of being alone, as if it is a bad thing. We justify being alone by putting in our headphones while walking to class or pulling out our laptops while sitting alone in a coffee stop–anything to seem connected to others.

It's true, we currently live in a world that’s more connected than ever. With the advancements of social media, society has become so interconnected that being alone seems as if it’s a thing of the past. But now more than ever, taking time to be alone is important to our mental health and well-being.

Alone time has been linked to increased creativity.

There's a reason that Pablo Picasso was famously quoted saying, "Without great solitude no serious work is possible." And many other creative greats from our past agree that spending time alone boosts creativity.  

Spending time alone allows you to take a moment and reflect on your thought processes. By doing so, you become more likely to think of other solutions to everyday problems. Alone time allows for fewer distractions.

While being in a group can lead to some forms of collaboration, constantly being in a group has its downside. When you're in a group, you're less likely to develop your own ideas and succumb to groupthink. Being alone allows for you to develop independent, unique thoughts.

Alone time can improve your relationships with others.

MIT scholar Sherry Turkle perfectly explains her study which connects solitude to empathy, and how our society's increased dependance on technology is leading us to become less empathetic. "We literally turn being alone into a problem that we want technology to solve." As a society, we need to combat our dependance on technology and become comfortable with our own thoughts. 

In other words, when you spend time alone, you develop a better understanding of yourself. You learn about who you are as a person and what qualities you value in yourself as well as in others. This makes you more likely to make better choices about what you want in life, and who you want to be around. 

Being alone also allows you to appreciate relationships you already have. You know the saying distance only makes the heart grow fonder, it's really true.

Those who spend time alone are less likely to become depressed.

Alone time is key for mental health development, especially in teenagers. According to a 1997 study conducted by the Society for Research in Child Development, teens who spend a moderate amount of time alone are better adjusted to social situations later on in life than those who rarely spend any time alone.

The study also found that teens who were comfortable spending time alone were less likely to develop mental health issues such as depression. By spending time alone you learn how to be more independent which better prepares you for unexpected live events and hurdles.

You’re able to do the things that you enjoy most.

Think of it this way, if you missed out on all the opportunities that came to you because you didn’t want to go to them alone, you’d miss out on a whole lot.

According to a study conducted by the University of Maryland,“consumers who forego hedonic activities alone are missing out on opportunities for rewarding experiences.” Or in more simple terms, if you don’t do something because you’re afraid of doing it alone, you’re just going to miss out on a great time.

The study also found that there is no difference in how people identify experiences alone versus with others. The only negative associations observed related to how participants thought others perceive their aloneness (as loneliness).

Being alone isn’t anything to feel ashamed about. Next time you’re sitting in the dining hall having lunch between classes alone, don’t feel like you have to take out your laptop to make it look like you’re doing something important. Take the time to appreciate all the benefits that come with alone time.