Spending time alone is like exposure to direct sunlight. We all need some of it, but too much can be unhealthy — and everybody’s threshold is different.

Researchers call this the paradox of solitude, and it has become a key part of the conversation about mental health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when people are experiencing the extremes of both unwanted isolation and crowded households without enough personal space.

Prof. Robert Coplan

Prof. Robert Coplan

“There’s never been a more important time to study solitude and its implications,” says Carleton University Psychology Prof. Robert Coplan, a leading international expert whose work has received a surge of interest.

“Historically, solitude has a pretty bad reputation and is seen as the cause of a lot of problems. Loneliness is a mental health issue; it can lead to anxiety and depression and even impact physical health. It’s a real concern.”

“But you can’t paint all solitude with the same broad brush,” he continues. “It can also be good for us. It can help with self-understanding, serve as a context for restoration and promote creativity.

Read the full story here: Researcher Explores Links Between Solitude and Wellness During COVID (carleton.ca)