When it comes to mental health, there’s a difference between being antisocial and being unsociable, a recent study shows.

Where antisocial behavior (avoiding social contact because of dislike or anxiety) can be bad for mental health, being unsociable (preferring alone time because you enjoy it) can actually be good.

In this study, researchers surveyed 295 young adults. They asked the participants about their motivations for spending time alone and about other traits like creativity, depression, and anxiety. Those who reported spending time alone because of a simple preference tended to not suffer from depression or anxiety, and they tended to be more creative.

And creativity is great for mental health! I’ve written before about the benefits of doing art, no matter your skill level. Doing creative things also staves off dementia and enhances brain functionality. It can decrease depression and anxiety and improve self-esteem.

So this holiday season, while it’s important to build up relationships with family and friends, remember to take breaks from the festivities to breathe and nurture your creative side.

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