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Spending just 15 minutes alone a day makes people feel more calm and peaceful, a study has found.

In experiments, 350 volunteers were told to spend time alone and given questionnaires on their state of mind. 

In one test, participants spent 15 minutes alone and 15 minutes in conversation, before their emotional states in both scenarios were compared. 

Spending time alone appeared to reduce positive active emotional states such as excitement, but those who did so were also less likely to report feeling negative emotions such as stress. 

Other experiments, which examined different scenarios such as reading a book by yourself, reported similar findings. 

The study, published in the Personality  and Social Psychology Bulletin, concludes that alone time can reduce positive and negative ‘high-arousal' states like excitement and anger, but also increase positive ‘low-arousal' states, such as peacefulness and relaxation.

The authors, led by Thuy-vy Nguyen at the University of Rochester in the US, conclude: "The set of studies suggested that people can use solitude, or other variations on being alone, to regulate their affective states – becoming quiet after excitement, calm after an angry episode or centred and  peaceful when desired."