If you're single, or you don't have any close friends nearby, seeing other people in relationships can make you feel sad and alone. Whether you’re out in public or scrolling on social media, seeing other couples and friends having a good time together can make you feel like it’s bad to spend time alone. Fortunately, what may seem like a very difficult time in solitude can actually be one of the most rewarding. By spending time alone, you can learn more about your true self, improve your well being, and learn how to work toward ultimate happiness.
What Does It Mean to Be Happy Alone?
Being happy by yourself is by no means something to be ashamed of. But what exactly does it mean to be happy alone? It all boils down to coming to peace with your flaws, your circumstances, and your significance in the world. It means believing and understanding that your presence is all that matters, no matter how happy others may seem. Did you know that according to recent research, people who like their alone time are less likely to feel tense, moody, and worried? This only adds evidence to the notion that having a lot of alone time isn't a bad thing whatsoever. In fact, it can actually be quite beneficial.
Spending Time With Yourself
Spending time with yourself is a huge step in the right direction when it comes to being happy alone. Here are a few examples of how you can start today.
What Makes You Feel Alive?
Spend some time considering what makes you happy. What was the last thing that made you smile? What are your interests? When was the last time you felt a sense of "awe?” Try making a list of these things. Make it a goal to come up with at least ten different things that make you feel happy. They can be as simple as sipping a mug of tea or planting flowers, whatever brings you a genuine sense of joy. Take a look at this list as soon as you wake up, and make an effort to include at least one item on your list in your routine each and every day.
Learn Something New
Next, make a list of ten things that you've always wanted to do. Spending time in solitude allows you to concentrate all your energy on what you want to focus on, without having to worry about anyone else. This also opens up a wealth of opportunities for creativity. Picking up new hobbies allows you to learn more about yourself, teaches you patience, and allows you to express yourself in new ways.
Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. If you're not ready to pick up a new hobby or explore interests, make a point to go somewhere new each week. This could be a coffee shop down the street or in a distant town—whatever you prefer. You might find that exploring new places alone is very rewarding, especially since you can go at your own pace and follow your own schedule.
Take Time to Breathe
Don't put too much pressure on yourself. If you find that you are frequently feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, spend time each day to focus on your own thoughts and feelings. Start a journal; sit down and write down anything that comes to mind. If you let yourself write freely for half an hour of uninterrupted time each day, you may be surprised by what you come up with. Journaling can be a form of self care by helping you reach the core of emotional problems, and you may find that you learn something new about yourself each day. Writing also acts as a form of release, so stress and other emotions that you may have been holding onto for a long time can finally be expressed.
Meditation and yoga are also very helpful for alleviating stress. Both practices focus on self-awareness and the importance of silence. If you don't have time to commit to a full yoga routine every morning, set aside five or ten minutes of peaceful time to sit, close your eyes, and breathe evenly. In the silence, try to empty your mind of all worries, plans, and thoughts; try not to let your mind wander too far, and focus on the present moment. Find a quiet place without distractions and just let yourself be. These simple activities will help to dramatically relax your mind and offer many benefits—including cultivating a healthy mind and a clear-headed approach to each day.
Set New Goals
You've been setting and achieving goals without even realizing it your entire life. Setting some positive life goals helps improve well being and gives you a better sense of direction and self-worth, no matter how small they may be. These goals may be related to health, such as starting up a new exercise routine or eating more vegetables. They may be related to creativity or your interests, such as learning how to draw or write creative stories. Or they may be related to self-worth, such as meditating or journaling. Whatever the goal, visualize yourself completing it. What kind of person will you be when you achieve it? What type of emotions will you experience?
A lot of larger life goals can seem extremely daunting, especially when focusing primarily on the very first step. The trick is to start small. As an example, if you want to run a marathon, don't try to force yourself to sign up for one and complete it in one fell swoop. Instead, start to train. If you're not a huge runner, that's totally fine. You can start small by power walking around the block a couple of times a day. When this gets easier, try going for a jog around the block. When this becomes easier, try for a mile. Then try to continuously beat your time. Every week your body and your form will become stronger, and before you know it, you'll be able to run that marathon with ease. For most people, this method of small steps for any of your goals will help boost your self-confidence, and give you the motivation you need to reach your larger goals.
Switch up Your Routine
Being stuck in a routine for a long time can make life feel slower and more repetitive. When the days start to blur into weeks, the world feels dull and it can be difficult to remember what made you happy in the first place. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to completely change your routine. Have you been working a job that you've disliked for years? It might be time to consider looking for something new. Have you been thinking of taking a trip abroad but haven't had the confidence to book a plane ticket? Book that ticket and go for an adventure. If you're not ready to make significant life changes, doing something as simple as rearranging your bedroom or painting your kitchen a new color can add some spice to your daily life and contribute to personal development.
Changing something about your daily routine keeps life from becoming too stagnant. Another great way of bringing about change and improving well being is getting rid of unnecessary clutter. Clean out your living area and donate anything that you don't need anymore. A clean, organized living space helps facilitate an organized state of mind.
If you find yourself thinking about how lonely you feel, it's important for you to try and conquer this before it spirals out of control. Focus less on the outside world and your perceived lack of social connectivity, and instead take some time for self care. Make a list of all of the aspects you love about yourself. Do something that relaxes you, such as burning incense, taking a long bubble bath, playing calming music, or drinking a cup of tea while reading a good book. These simple tasks can help you refocus and look at your situation in a new light.
Embrace Your Alone Time
One of the biggest advantages of solitude is that your daily routine, thoughts, and actions are only influenced by you and no outside influences. You no longer have to change your plans because your significant other had something else in mind. You can eat dessert before dinner every day of the week without anyone criticizing you. You can make decisions on a whim without notifying anyone.
Instead of viewing this solitude as a negative time, try to focus your energy on improving an aspect of yourself or your life that you've always wanted to work on. Instead of putting all your energy and time completely into another person, it can instead go back into improving yourself, and making your own life more rewarding. This could involve your health, finances, spirituality, career, or anything else you can think of. Visualize where you want to be five, ten, even fifteen years from now, and begin slowly working your way toward it.
Sometimes, it's not very easy to find happiness in solitude, and you may have feelings of depression or loneliness. If you or someone you know is struggling with finding self-love, therapy is highly recommended. However, if you're not ready for counseling, there are alternative options available that can help you better deal with alone time.
Keep Yourself Occupied
If you're bored and feel like you have too much alone time, it might be easy for your mind to wander off into dark territory. Feelings of loneliness or sadness can get worse if you’re bored. Try keeping yourself occupied by reading a book series, binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix, or even writing an autobiography. Whatever activity you choose, it beats doing nothing.
Escape With Music
Loneliness and feeling isolated from society can cause you to feel alone and depressed. However, you can reconnect in your own way. Music is a very common go-to solution to escape the problems of your world and can serve as a means to immerse yourself in a universe of emotion.
Reach Out to Family
If you have a loving family, then the truth is that you're never really alone. Even if you can't quite remember the last time you spoke with any of your close or distant relatives, it might serve as a huge benefit to try and reach out to them. If you live far from family, don’t hesitate to talk on the phone with your family members. It may take some getting used to if you don’t usually call your family, but it can certainly make you feel less lonely and introduce some social time into your life.
Get the Help You Need
More than one study has shown that internet-based therapy can help successfully decrease symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. One study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that patients experiencing sadness or anxiety were more empowered after utilizing online therapy resources, particularly when compared with face-to-face treatment. The listed benefits of internet-based therapy include ease of use, cost, and greater flexibility. Researchers concluded that online therapy is more accessible for those dealing with anxiety or depression, and an overall more efficient method of treating patients living with mental health issues related to self-esteem (e.g., the fear of being alone, negative self-image, introversion).
As outlined above, online therapy offers many benefits and is an effective means of dealing with your feelings of loneliness or sadness. Unlike with traditional face-to-face therapy, online counseling adds a measure of privacy for those already dealing with shyness. If you find that your feelings of isolation are leading to low self-esteem and feelings of loneliness or depression, then the help you need is a click away. At BetterHelp, we offer discreet online counseling with licensed professionals who care. No matter the time, if you are feeling lonely, you have the option of sending a message to your counselor, who will get back to you as soon as they can. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
"Dr. Norton has helped me tremendously with my self confidence and self-kindness. She responds in a very timely manner and is always sweet and professional. I've been living under a fog of depression for several years and working with her has lifted that heaviness. While I still have problems, living without that gloom hanging over me has been amazing. I feel more confident about solving whatever problem comes my way. She has equipped me with tools to take care of myself better than before and I will carry these lessons throughout my life. Thank you, Dr. Norton!"
"Kameron is the best counselor I've ever had. Not only is BetterHelp really convenient for my busy lifestyle, but my counselor is the best. She listens and understands what I'm going through even when I'm terrible at explaining it. She pushes me in a positive way, asking the real hard questions so I can have those moments of self-discovery. She's amazing to work with, and being able to write her and schedule phone or video sessions is so convenient."
Learning how to spend time with yourself and be happy in solitude is an outstanding achievement that you should feel proud of. When you come to peace with your own company and your own thoughts, it can lead to healthy personal growth and development. But it's okay if you're not yet there—you will be. Take the first step today.
Commonly Asked Questions About This Topic
What is spending time alone called?
Spending time alone is called solitude. Someone in solitude does not have a lot of contact with other people, and this can have negative and positive impacts on the individual. Some benefits of solitude include increased creativity and mental well being. Negative aspects of solitude include problems maintaining relationships and loneliness.
Why do I like to spend time alone?
If you’re wondering why you like alone time so much, know you’re not alone. Although humans are social creatures, many people love to spend time in solitude. Bill Gates, American business magnate and one of the most financially successful people in the world, is known for taking solo, week long trips to a cabin in the woods so he could think more clearly. Time spent alone is not only relaxing, but it can give you a break from your everyday life and allow you to think outside the box.
Is it normal to spend a lot of time alone?
Yes, it is normal to spend a lot of time in solitude, and there’s nothing wrong with preferring your own company over others.
However, an important thing to remember is that balance is often the key to happiness, meaning it could be beneficial to spend some time with family and friends along with prioritizing your alone time. Additionally, continually developing positive relationships in life can increase life satisfaction, so keep this in mind.
Is it healthy to be alone?
There is nothing wrong with being alone, but how one person handles solitude can vary from how another person does. If you feel like all you do is sit alone in silence, there is a chance solitude is not healthy for you. There is nothing inherently wrong with solitude, but for many of us, too much alone time can lead to loneliness and disconnection.