Naturally, some individuals are content alone. Yet being solo is a challenge for some. There are ways to become more comfortable with being alone if you fall into the latter category, even if you’re a hardcore extrovert.
Regardless of how you feel about being single, it is a worthwhile investment to build a healthy relationship with yourself. You spend quite a little time with yourself, after all, so you may as well learn to enjoy it.
Isn’t being alone the same as being lonely?
It’s important to untangle these two principles before getting into the various ways to find happiness in being alone: being alone and being lonely. Although there is some overlap between them, they are definitions that are entirely different.
You may be a person who completely basks in loneliness. You’re not friendless, antisocial, or loveless. With time alone, you’re just very happy. You’re actually looking forward to it. That is just being alone, not being lonely.
You may be surrounded by family and friends, on the other hand, but not really linked beyond a surface level, which makes you feel very lonely and disconnected. Or maybe being lonely only leaves you depressed and yearning for company. Loneliness is that.
It’s important to realise that being alone does not have to mean you’re sad before going into the ins and outs of being happy alone. Yes, you may be sad and feel lonely, but you don’t always have to go hand in hand with all of them.
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To get you started, short-term tips
The goal of these tips is to help you get the ball rolling. Overnight, they may not change your life, but they will help you feel more comfortable with being alone.
Some of them may be what you wanted to learn, exactly. Others may not be meaningful to you. Using them as stone-steppers. Add and shape them to suit your own lifestyle and personality along the way.
1. Avoid making comparisons
This is better said than done, but try to stop contrasting your social life with that of someone else. What matters is not the number of friends you have or the duration of your social outings. For you, it’s what works.
Note, you just have no way of knowing whether someone is genuinely content with a bunch of friends and a stuffed social calendar.
2. To social media, say “No”
Social networking is not necessarily negative or problematic, but take a couple of steps back if scrolling through your feeds makes you feel left out and depressed. That nourishment doesn’t tell the whole storey. Not by a shot of long.
If those people are genuinely happy or only give the impression that they are, you have no idea. It’s no reflection on you either way. So, breathe deeply and put things in perspective.
Perform a test run and for 48 hours, ban yourself from social media. Start setting yourself a daily limit of 10 to 15 minutes and stick to it if that makes a difference.
3. Reduce contacts on phones
Noticing a pattern around here? The notion of being alone has certainly altered cellphones and social media.
If they can pick up their phone and text or call just about anybody, is anybody really alone? Or check in on what the friend from high school is up to without even having to speak to them?
That’s not to suggest that technology is not an immensely valuable tool for community building and feeling close to loved ones who might be far away. But as a way to avoid being alone with your own ideas, it’s easy to focus on smartphones.
Turn your phone off the next time you’re home, and stash it away for an hour. To reconnect with yourself and discover what it feels like to be completely alone, use this time.
Not sure how to go around the time? Get a pen and notepad, and the next time you find yourself alone, jot down stuff you might enjoy doing.
4. Enable wandering in your mind
Does the idea of doing absolutely nothing leave you unsettled? That’s probably because a long time has passed since you just allowed yourself to be.
Experiment for 5 minutes by setting a timer. It’s that.
For five minutes,
Find a quiet position to sit or lay down. If you prefer, close your eyes, darken the room or look out the window. Try a boring job, such as knitting, dribbling a basketball, or cleaning pots, if that’s too sedentary.
Let your mind wander and see where it takes you, truly wander. If it does not take you very far at first, don’t be discouraged. Your mind will get used to this new independence with time.
5. Dating with yourself Fix
Self-dates can be a valuable method for learning how to be happier alone, but they can sound cliche.
Not sure what’s to be done? Imagine that you want to please a real date and show them a nice time. Where will you take them? What would you like to see or hear from them?
Now on that date, take yourself. At first it may feel a little different, but chances are you’ll see at least a couple of other people dining solo or buying a movie ticket for one.
You don’t have to go big if money is a concern. But note that paying for one is a lot cheaper than it is for two, too.
Sounds too overwhelming still? Begin small by sitting for just 10 minutes in a coffee shop. In your surroundings, be observant and soak. When you are comfortable with that it won’t seem so strange anymore to go out alone.
Exercise can release endorphins that can make you feel happier, the neurotransmitters in your brain.
Start with only a few minutes a day if you are new to exercise, even if it’s just morning stretches. Each day, increase your operation by a minute or two. Try weight lifting, aerobics, or sports as you build confidence.
Plus, hitting the gym alone can be a fantastic starting point if you’re feeling uneasy about working out on your own.
7. Spending time with nature
Yes, a new cliche. Seriously, though, get outside. In the backyard, relax, take a stroll in the park, or hang out by the pool. Absorb nature’s sights, sounds and smells. Feel your face in the air.
ResearchTrusted Source indicates that it can boost symptoms of depression and lower blood pressure for 30 minutes or more a week spent in nature.
8. Lean into the benefits of being alone
Some people find it particularly hard to be content when living alone. It might be a little quiet, of course, because no one is there to listen to you whine after work or to remind you to turn the stove off.
But living alone has its benefits as well (naked vacuuming, anybody?). Try to manipulate the physical and mental space that comes with living alone:
Take all the room with you. Spend the day cooking a delicious meal that you can munch on for the next week, taking up the entire kitchen.
Only spread out. Trying to get yourself back into an old hobby? Get and spread all your supplies across the floor and determine what you want to use for your next project. Not finished making a decision in a single day? No trouble. When you’re done, leave it out, even though it’s a week from now.
Have a group with a dance. This is a very self-explanatory one. Put on your favourite music and crank it up, neighbours permitting. Dance like nobody watches, because well… they’re not.
9. Be humble and thankful
Research demonstrates that appreciation will improve feelings of satisfaction and hopefulness.
When you go about your day it is convenient to take things for granted. Spend some time focusing on the stuff you’re grateful for.
They don’t have to be amazing stuff that are mind-blowing. They can be as easy as the first cup of coffee you play over and over in the morning or the music you play because it calms your nerves.
Create a mental or physical list of the things you enjoy in your life. Whip out this list the next time you’re alone and feeling down, to remind yourself of what you have going for you.
10. Give a break to yourself
A good thing is self-reflection. Harsh self-judgment is not that. It eats away at your faith and satisfaction in yourself. Switch into that more optimistic voice that exists in your mind when that harsh inner critic comes to call (you know it’s somewhere in there).
Do not judge yourself more harshly than anyone else would judge you. Everyone makes mistakes, so don’t keep on beating them up. Mind the many outstanding qualities that you possess.
11. Serve a top-notch meal by yourself
No partner for dinner? Eating alone doesn’t have to mean being in front of the TV eating pre-packaged food. For one, cook a fabulous meal.
Set the table, use a cloth napkin, light a candle, and if you’re having a dinner party, do whatever you do. On your own, you’re worth it all.
12. Locate a creative outlet
What did you always dream of doing, but put it off? If you are not good at it, don’t worry. The point is to try something fresh and unique, to take a risk outside of your comfort zone.
Taking on a project for home renovation. Learn to play an instrument, or write a short storey, or paint a landscape. Do it alone or join in a class. Give yourself plenty of time to see if it is worth pursuing.
You can at least mark it off your list if you don’t like it and move on to something else.
13. Make solo outing arrangements
Find things to do that are fun and place them on your schedule. Give yourself to look forward to something. Anticipation is half of the game, after all. Seeing it on your calendar could motivate you to follow through as well.
Visit and stay at a bed and breakfast in a nearby town. Attending a local festival or market for farmers. Buy a concert ticket or the awesome art show everyone’s talking about. Plan for something that you really care for and make it happen.
To keep the ball going long-term tips
You will start digging a little deeper as you get more familiar with the day-to-day aspects of being alone.
14. Shake the routine up
Even a well working routine will gradually turn into a rut, leaving you uninspired. Think about your routine and immediate surroundings every day. What’s going for you all the time, and what’s getting dull?
Take a shot at it if you are not sure. Freshen up things. Have your furniture rearranged or paint a wall. Start a garden, declutter and clean, or find a new coffee shop. See if you can change anything there to get yourself out of the rut.
15. Reinforce your coping skills
Life has its stressors and there are bad things going on. In ignoring this fact, there’s no point. But remember something bad happened last time and you found out how to deal with it? That’s a talent worth holding on improving.
Think about how you were dealing then and why it succeeded. Think of how you can use the same mentality to deal with events now occurring. This is also a good chance to provide some credit for yourself. Maybe you are far stronger and more resilient than you know.
16. Close social ties
You might find yourself spending less time socialising as you become more relaxed being alone. With that, there’s nothing wrong, but close social ties are still relevant.
Arrange to visit someone in your family or a friend, or after work, go hang out with the squad. Call and have a meaningful talk with someone you have not heard from in a long time.
17. Practice amnesty
What does your satisfaction have to do with forgiveness? As it turns out a lot. The act of forgiving, among other health benefits, can decrease stress, anxiety and depression.
It’s less about making the other person feel better than about feeling better about yourself. Yeah, that means that it counts to write a letter forgiving those who hurt you without actually submitting it absolutely.
Forgiveness will take your mind off a load. Do not forget to forgive yourself while you are at it, too.
18. Take note of your fitness
Physical health and vice versa can be affected by mental health. It can help improve your overall happiness by taking care of your physical health. Plus, it’s a good way to foster yourself in a good relationship.
Eat a healthy diet, exercise on a regular basis and get plenty of sleep as part of what you do with your time alone. In order to treat your pre-existing health problems, make sure to have an annual physical and see your doctor.
19. For the future, make preparations
Where do you want to be, both socially and professionally, in 5 years or in 10 years? What do you need to do to meet those objectives? In directing your choices, writing this down can be helpful.
To see if you’re on track or if targets can be updated, review this exercise regularly. Having plans for tomorrow will make you feel more confident and positive today.