Being single has a handful of benefits, scientific research has found. Alone time is one of them. Single people are more likely to not only embrace solitude, but benefit from it, recent studies have suggested.
Bella DePaulo, a psychologist at the University of California Santa Barbara, advocates the single life and travels the nation to present these findings, which she says are too often dismissed by the larger psychology community. In a TEDx Talk she gave last spring, she called living single her “happily ever after.” Studies suggest she’s onto something.
Single people tend to have stronger social networks
In 2015, social scientists named Natalia Sarkisian and Naomi Gerstel set out to explore how ties to relatives, neighbours, and friends varied among single and married American adults. They found that singles were not only more likely to frequently reach out to their social networks, but also tended to provide and receive help from these people more than their married peers.
Their results held steady even when they accounted for factors like race, gender, and income levels. Put simply, “being single increases the social connections of both women and men,” Sarkisian and Gerstel wrote in their paper.
Singles also tend to be fitter
There may be some truth to the idea that people who “settle down” ease into unhealthier habits, at least when it comes to some measures of physical fitness. In surveying more than 13,000 people between 18 and 64, researchers found that those who were single and had never married worked out more frequently each week than their married and divorced peers.
Single people may develop more individually and benefit more from alone time
Several studies have linked solitude to benefits such as an increased sense of freedom and higher levels of creativity and intimacy. Amy Morin, a psychotherapist, says that alone time can help people be more productive as well. “Time alone doesn’t have to be lonely,” Morin previously told Business Insider. “It could be the key to getting to know yourself better.”
In a 2016 presentation for the American Psychological Association, DePaulo presented evidence that single people tended to have stronger feelings of self-determination and were more likely to experience psychological growth and development than their married counterparts.
In other words, while romantic relationships certainly have benefits, being single does too. “The beliefs that single people are miserable, lonely … and want nothing more than to become un-single are just myths,” DePaulo said. (*Source: INDEPENDENT Saturday 10 February 2018)