We've all been challenged by the pandemic, often finding ourselves parked on the sofa flipping through what's coming to Netflix and missing our friends and family. And while many of us have filled our time with home workouts or self care days, it's been a lonely time for some. But, has that loneliness actually made us more creative?
A recent study in Nature Communications has found that, though human beings are "ultra-social animals" that thrive off of social interaction, there is a scientific link between loneliness and creativity.
The researchers have said the "default network" of the brain that involves memory and social cognition actually goes through changes linked to loneliness.
Loneliness is heavily connected to many health problems, and lonely people are more likely to suffer from mental health issues and illnesses like dementia, but the study found that loneliness might actually help the brain build structures in the parts that are tied to imagination.
Lonely people are more likely to have more activity in the part of the brain that is linked to reminiscing, planning for the future, and being creative. So if you’re one of the many people that tried their hand at baking, new hobbies, or thinking up elaborate plans for the end of the pandemic, you’re not the only one, and there is science behind it.
Getting into the complicated stuff, the study says: ‘brain-behavior association would manifest as greater attention to one’s inner milieu, and a heightened focus on the self and self-reflective thoughts, which would naturally engage memory-based functions of the default network.” In layman's terms, you reflect inwardly when you’re not around others.
We spend a lot of time thinking about other people and wanting their attention and approval, but when you are isolated from this you are able to focus on yourself and your sense of self.
The study also says that “persons who face social disconnection are known to more frequently engage in random imagination of social interaction, nostalgic reminiscences, hypothetical conversations, and treating pets as if they were human agents.” If you’ve been talking to your pet more than normal over the last few months, now you know why!
When you're alone, you listen to your own inner voice and tap into your own intuition as a result of no outside information, so your brain starts to develop its own structures. Perhaps that’s why some of the most famous artists and creators of our time were known as reclusive—Vincent van Gogh, for example.
The takeaway is that despite the negativity of boredom and loneliness, there is one good part, and that is creativity. Being creative doesn’t have to mean painting—it can be imagining future plans or writing, mediation or being one with nature. Whatever medium, use this alone time to tap into your most creative self.
Naomi is trainee news writer who writes for My Imperfect life, Woman & Home and Goodto. Naomi writes articles from fashion trends and skincare to entertainment news.
Best sleep aid: Top accessories for a good night’s shut-eye
The best sleep aid accessories we could all use for optimum zzzs
By Laura Martin •
The science behind ‘beer fear’—this is why we feel so anxious the morning after
It’s not just you, beer fear is real and it sucks
By Naomi Jamieson •
How long do ear piercings take to heal?
From lobe to cartilage, the answer to "How long do ear piercings take to heal?" can differ with each piercing. Our guide is here to help
By Hattie Gladwell •
The art of manifesting with crystals
Get ready to bring romance and prosperity into your life by manifesting with crystals
By Naomi Jamieson •
What are ear seeds? Everything you need to know about the health-focused treatment
Ear seeds aren't just for aesthetics—they're an auriculotherapy meant to improve your health
By Danielle Valente •
This is how the weather affects your period
Rain or shine—it really does change your cycle
By Naomi Jamieson •
How do you get a COVID vaccine passport?
What can you do—and where can you go—with a vaccine passport? This is everything we know so far
By Christina Izzo •
Crystals for beginners: how to get started on your crystal healing journey
Get your rocks off the holistic way with our crystals for beginners guide
By Fiona Embleton •