Is the key to living a long life… solitude? Bronx resident Louise Signore, 107, credits her longevity to the fact that she’s held on to her status as an independent woman. “I think the secret of 107: I never got married. I think that’s the secret,” she told CNN affiliate WBCS. I’m getting some serious Cher-circa-1996 vibes right now (a man is like dessert—not necessary). Signore is an icon. Basically, the centenarian’s relationship advice: don’t. Signore also exercises regularly, eats healthy, and plays Bingo, which obviously factors into her overall health. But I’m choosing to narrow the focus to the benefits of being single.
There’s actually research to suggest myriad advantages to a life of solitude. (I swear I’m not just saying this to make myself feel better.) One study found that marital stress can be a precursor to depression. Unsociability can also help you be more creative, as you have more time to be introspective. I’m taking this as permission to retreat to my couch and watch Netflix instead of going on a date. Also, as I’ve previously discussed, sleeping alone is simply the best. (Though the science is a little torn on whether or not people who sleep alone sleep better—to which I say, you do you.) However, if being alone scares you, you’re not… well, alone. A recent study found that people would rather give themselves an electric shock than be alone with their thoughts.
“We’re afraid of being single because single life is stereotyped and stigmatized in society; people think that if you’re single, there must be something wrong with you, and no one wants to feel that way about themselves,” psychologist Dr. Bella DePaulo told Vice. She also said that the research surrounding solitariness “suggests it’s really good for creativity, restoration, personal growth, spirituality, and for relaxation.”
Suddenly, I’m feeling much better about the fact that my search history includes “health benefits of being single forever.” (This story was… not the first time I have Googled this.)
If you’re feeling very blah about being single, here are some science-backed tips to help you be single and happy.