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喜欢独处不是错 离群索居也有好处

更新时间:2018-3-25 10:49:34 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why being a loner may be good for your health
喜欢独处不是错 离群索居也有好处

I can be a reluctant socialiser. I’m sometimes secretly pleased when social plans are called off. I get restless a few hours into a hangout. I even once went on a free 10-day silent meditation retreat – not for the meditation, but for the silence.

我是一个很不喜欢参加社交活动的人。有时,当这些无聊的活动被取消后,我甚至有如释重负之感。一般聚会没多久,我就会感到焦躁不安。我甚至还参加过一次为期10天的静默冥想活动——吸引我的不是冥想,而是那里安静的氛围。

So I can relate to author Anneli Rufus, who recounted in Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto:

因此我跟安聂利·鲁弗斯(Anneli Rufus)感同身受,鲁弗斯在他的著作《一人派对:喜爱独处者的宣言》(Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto)中写道:

“When parents on TV shows punished their kids by ordering them to go to their rooms, I was confused. I loved my room. Being there behind a locked door was a treat. To me a punishment was being ordered to play Yahtzee with my cousin Louis.”

"当看到电视里的父母把小孩赶到房间里作为对他们的惩罚时,我感到迷惑不解。呆在一个大门紧锁的房间里难道不是很舒服自在吗?对我来说,真正的惩罚反而是让我和表弟路易斯玩游戏。"

Asocial tendencies like these are often far from ideal. Abundant research shows the harms of social isolation, considered a serious public health problem in countries that have rapidly ageing populations (though talk of a ‘loneliness epidemic’ may be overblown). In the UK, the Royal College of General Practitioners says that loneliness has the same risk level for premature death as diabetes. Strong social connections are important for cognitive functioning, motor function and a smoothly running immune system.

很多研究都证实了社交缺乏的危害。在人口迅速老龄化的国家,这已经造成了严重的公共健康问题(尽管'孤独症泛滥'等等耸人听闻的词汇恐怕有点言过其实)。英国皇家全科医学院(Royal College of General Practitioners)称,孤独症和糖尿病会以同样程度缩短患者的寿命。紧密的社会关系对于保持我们的认知功能、运动功能和免疫系统健康非常重要。

This is especially clear from cases of extreme social isolation. Examples of people kept in captivity, children kept isolated in abusive orphanages, and prisoners kept in solitary confinement all show how prolonged solitude can lead to hallucinations and other forms of mental instability.

与社会严重隔离所造成的问题更加明显。非法拘禁受害者、存在虐待行为的孤儿院里的儿童、以及在监狱被单独关押的犯人都表明,长期离群索居会导致幻觉和其他类型的精神问题。

But these are severe and involuntary cases of aloneness. For those of us who just prefer plenty of alone time, emerging research suggests some good news: there are upsides to being reclusive – for both our work lives and our emotional well-being.

但是,这些问题是针对严重而被动地远离人群所言。对于那些处于自我选择喜欢享受独处时光的人来说,同样有越来越多的研究带来了好消息:喜欢离群索居对于我们的工作、生活和精神健康也同样有益处。

Creative space

创造力空间

One key benefit is improved creativity. Gregory Feist, who focuses on the psychology of creativity at California’s San Jose State University, has defined creativity as thinking or activity with two key elements: originality and usefulness. He has found that personality traits commonly associated with creativity are openness (receptiveness to new thoughts and experiences), self-efficacy (confidence), and autonomy (independence) – which may include “a lack of concern for social norms” and “a preference for being alone”. In fact, Feist’s research on both artists and scientists shows that one of the most prominent features of creative folks is their lesser interest in socialising.

一个重要益处就是提高我们的创造力。加州大学圣何塞分校(California's San Jose State University)创造力心理学专家格里高利·菲斯特(Gregory Feist)把创造力定义为:具有两种基本特征的思考和行动:原创性和有用性。他发现,与创造力有关的性格特征有开放性(愿意接受新观点和新经验)、自我效能(自信心)和主动性(独立性),与此同时,"不关注在意社会规范"以及"喜欢独处"。菲斯特对艺术家和科学家开展的研究表明,创造力人群最为突出的特征就在于,他们对社交活动不感兴趣。

One reason for this is that such people are likely to spend sustained time alone working on their craft. Plus, Feist says, many artists “are trying to make sense of their internal world and a lot of internal personal experiences that they’re trying to give expression to and meaning to through their art.” Solitude allows for the reflection and observation necessary for that creative process.

其中一个原因在于:这类人会投入大量时间从事自己感兴趣的事情。菲斯特说,许多艺术家"高度关注自己的内心世界和内心感受,并且会尝试通过艺术手法将其表达出来。"独处会给艺术家留出从事这种创造性工作所需的思考和观察空间。

A recent vindication of these ideas came from University at Buffalo psychologist Julie Bowker, who researches social withdrawal. Social withdrawal usually is categorised into three types: shyness caused by fear or anxiety; avoidance, from a dislike of socialising; and unsociability, from a preference for solitude.

最近,布法罗大学(University at Buffalo)专门研究社会退缩现象的心理学家朱莉·布克(Julie Bowker)证实了上述观点。一般把社会退缩分为三类:恐惧和焦虑引起的羞涩;不喜社交引起的逃避行为;以及喜独处而不爱交际。

A paper by Bowker and her colleagues was the first to show that a type of social withdrawal could have a positive effect – they found that creativity was linked specifically to unsociability. They also found that unsociability had no correlation with aggression (shyness and avoidance did).

布克及其同事发表了一篇论文,首次阐述了社会退缩可能也有正面效应。他们发现,创造力强的人普遍不爱交际,另外不善交际者性格不强势不具进攻性。

This was significant because while previous research had suggested that unsociability might be harmless, Bowker and colleagues’ paper showed that it could actually be beneficial. Unsociable people are likely to be “having just enough interaction,” Bowker says. “They have a preference for being alone, but they also don’t mind being with others.”

该结果意义重大,因为过往研究认为,不善交际只不过可能没有害处,但是布克及其同事的论文却表明,不善交际甚至会有好处。很多爱独处的人"也会和他人打成一片,"布克说。"他们喜欢独处,但并不排斥参加社交活动。"

There is gender and cultural variation, of course. For instance, some research suggests that unsociable children in China have more interpersonal and academic problems than unsociable kids in the West. Bowker says that these differences are narrowing as the world becomes more globalised.

当然,这个问题上存在性别和文化上的差异。例如,某些研究发现,与西方同类儿童相比,不善交际的中国儿童存在更多的人际交往和学习困难问题。布克称,随着全球化的发展,这种差异正在逐渐缩小。

Still, it turns out that solitude is important for more than creativity.

研究者还发现,爱独处带来的益处不仅限于创造力。

Inward focus

专注内心

It’s commonly believed that leaders need to be gregarious. But this depends – among other things, on the personalities of their employees. One 2011 study showed that in branches of a pizza chain where employees were more passive, extroverted bosses were associated with higher profits. But in branches where employees were more proactive, introverted leaders were more effective. One reason for this is that introverted people are less likely to feel threatened by strong personalities and suggestions. They’re also more likely to listen.

人们普遍认为,企业领导人需要合群爱交际。但这也取决于员工的个性等其他因素。2011年的一项研究表明,在一个员工普遍工作不积极主动的披萨连锁分店里,一个性格外向的老板会创造更多利润。但在一个员工工作积极性强的分店里,内向型领导则更为适合。原因之一在于,内向者较少会对强烈个性的人和建议感受到威胁。他们更易于倾听。

Since ancient times, meanwhile, people have been aware of a link between isolation and mental focus. After all, cultures with traditions of religious hermits believe that solitude is important for enlightenment.

自古时起,人们就已经注意到独处与精神专注之间的联系。有宗教归隐传统的文化都认为,要想悟道归真,最好离群独居。

Recent research has given us a better understanding of why. One benefit of unsociability is the brain’s state of active mental rest, which goes hand-in-hand with the stillness of being alone. When another person is present, your brain can’t help but pay some attention. This can be a positive distraction. But it’s still a distraction.

近期研究更多地揭示了其中原因。独处的益处之一就在于,此时大脑处于平静休息状态。当有他人在身旁时,你的大脑就会不自觉地去关注他/她,从而让你的注意力受到打扰,尽管这种打扰也可能有益,但是依旧是种分心。

Daydreaming in the absence of such distractions activates the brain’s default-mode network. Among other functions, this network helps to consolidate memory and understand others’ emotions. Giving free rein to a wandering mind not only helps with focus in the long term but strengthens your sense of both yourself and others. Paradoxically, therefore, periods of solitude actually help when it comes time to socialise once more. And the occasional absence of focus ultimately helps concentration in the long run.

做白日梦就是大脑在没有这种打扰时出现的活动。具有加深记忆力、理解他人情绪等作用。让思维无拘无束地自由驰骋不仅能加强长期记忆力,还能增强你对自己和他人之间关系的感受。然而矛盾的是,独处比聚会对激发注意力更有效果,偶尔的分心也能促进长期注意力的保持。

A more recent proponent of thoughtful and productive solitude is Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and founder of Quiet Revolution, a company that promotes quiet and introvert-friendly workplaces. “These days, we tend to believe that creativity emerges from a decidedly gregarious process, but in fact it requires sustained attention and deep focus,” she says. “Also, humans are such porous, social beings that when we surround ourselves with others, we automatically take in their opinions and aesthetics. To truly chart our own path or vision, we have to be willing to sequester ourselves, at least for some period of time.”

《安静:喋喋不休世界里内向者拥有的力量》(Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)一书作者,"安静革命"(Quiet Revolution)公司创始人苏珊·凯恩(Susan Cain)号召人们去体验特意安排且会提高生产力的独处时间。"安静革命"是一家致力于推广安静而对内向者友好的工作环境的企业。"现在人们普遍认为,只有嘈杂的社交环境才会激发创造力,但是实际上,培育创造力需要持续聚焦注意力,并保持高度专注,"她说。"另外,人类是一种无孔不入的社会动物。当我们身边都是人时,我们会不自觉地接受他们的观点和美学偏好。为了真正开辟你自己的道路或者理念,我们就应当远离人群,至少离开一段时间。"

Hermit health

独处与健康

Still, the line between useful solitude and dangerous isolation can be blurry. “Almost anything can be adaptive and maladaptive, depending on how extreme they get,” Feist says. A disorder has to do with dysfunction. If someone stops caring about people and cuts off all contact, this could point to a pathological neglect of social relations. But creative unsociability is a far cry from this.

有益的独处和危险的孤独之间的界限很难划定。"任何事物都有可以适应和不可适应的一面,取决于极端程度的高低。"菲斯特说。功能失调和机能障碍之间互相关联。如果某人完全拒绝关心他人并切断所有联系,这意味着对社会关系的病理学忽视。然而能够激发创造力的独处却与其相差甚远。

In fact, Feist says, “there’s a real danger with people who are never alone.” It’s hard to be introspective, self-aware, and fully relaxed unless you have occasional solitude. In addition, introverts tend to have fewer but stronger friendships – which has been linked to greater happiness.

事实上,菲斯特说,"永远不知孤独为何物的人其实很危险。"如果没有偶尔独处的经历,就不可能内省、认识自我、并完全放松。另外,性格内向者的朋友较少,但友谊却更为牢固,从而带来更大的幸福感。

As with many things, quality reigns over quantity. Nurturing a few solid relationships without feeling the need to constantly populate your life with chattering voices ultimately may be better for you.

对于很多事物而言,质量的意义都超过数量。和少数几个朋友建立深厚友谊要比四处参与无聊的聚会要有意义得多。

Thus, if your personality tends toward unsociability, you shouldn’t feel the need to change. Of course, that comes with caveats. But as long as you have regular social contact, you are choosing solitude rather than being forced into it, you have at least a few good friends and your solitude is good for your well-being or productivity, there’s no point agonising over how to fit a square personality into a round hole.

因此,如果你的性格让你更喜欢独处,就没有必要改变它。当然,凡事不可绝对。如果你有规律的社交生活,你自愿独处,而非被人强迫,你有几个好友,你的独处不影响你的身体健康和工作,就没必要非要削足适履地改变自己。

So feel free to de-clutter your social calendar. It’s psychologist-approved.

是时候安心把乱糟糟的聚会日程表删除一下了,心理学家鼓励你这样做。

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