I’ve just read an interesting study. And the conclusion was that a good amount of people want to avoid being alone with their thoughts so much that they would opt to administer themselves an electric shock just to break up the time. It sounds extreme, but it’s true. You can read the full study if you’re so inclined.
Just a few minutes of Alone Time
I would chew my own arm off for an uninterrupted 15 minutes most days. I work a full time job, and when I get home I have a full time toddler who needs my constant attention. I work online, I watch TV, and I wont lie, I’m on my phone more than is probably healthy. But I love to shut it all down. To sit in silence and just enjoy being at peace with myself. It is blissful.
6 to 15 minutes. The amount of time the participants of this study were asked to be alone with their thoughts was 6 to 15 minutes. Not a whole day. Not even an hour.
So just how many people truly want to avoid time alone with their thoughts?
An astounding 67% of male and 25% of females. They found being alone with their thoughts so abhorrent, that opting to self administer an electric shock was preferable. I originally assumed that administering the shock would end the time alone. However, my assumption was inaccurate. Participants used the shock as something to fill the time.
These people needed a distraction from their own thoughts so badly, that they decided to literally shock themselves.
Things to Think About
One group of participants were given ideas for things to think about. This did not show any significant change in the study. Even with a pleasant prompt to help them sit back and think, a large number of study participants still chose an electric shock.
What do you think?
I think it is unhealthy to avoid being alone with your thoughts. In my opinion, the fear of ones self will lead to the downfall of society. Having an escape, a good book, a movie, or dive head first into your facebook feed isn’t a bad thing. But being so uncomfortable with yourself that you can’t go 15 minutes without a distraction is something else.
Are your starved for distraction? Or do you crave those blissful moments alone? Let me know in the comments. Then shut things down for a while, breath, and just think.