Spending Time With Yourself: How To Be Happy Alone
Companionship is in our faces all the time. You take a walk through the park and pass a young couple cuddling under a tree. You go out for a drink and see a group of friends laughing over inside jokes. You go out to the supermarket and see a married couple holding hands, discussing what to cook for dinner. If you're single or don't have any close friends nearby, being confronted by all of these everyday interactions can make you feel sad and alone. Fortunately, what may seem like a very difficult time can be one of the most rewarding. By spending time alone, you learn more about your true self and how to work towards ultimate happiness.
What makes you feel alive?
Spend some time considering what makes you happy. If the first ideas that come to mind are "being loved by someone" or "having someone to share my time with," dig a little deeper. True happiness comes from within yourself, not through someone else. What was the last thing to make you smile? When was the last time you felt awe? Even something as simple as sipping on a mug of tea or planting flowers can be added to this list. Try to keep writing until you've come up with at least ten different things that make you feel happy.
Every day, take a look at this list as soon as you wake up. Make an effort to include at least one item on your list in your daily routine every single day.
Learn something new
Next, make a list of ten things you have always wanted to do. Having time alone allows you to focus all of your energy on what you want to focus on, without having to worry about anyone else! Have you wanted to start your herb garden? Learn how to sew? Be able to code and design your websites? Time alone opens up so many opportunities for creative development. There may be classes in your neighborhood on your chosen subject, or you may choose to wander the library and find how-to books to read at home. Picking up new hobbies allows you to learn more about yourself, teaches you patience and allows you to express yourself in different ways.
Step outside of your comfort zone! If you're not ready to pick up a new hobby, make a point to go somewhere new each week. This could be a coffee shop down the street or a town hours away. You never know what sort of new friends you can meet through having new experiences, and you might find that exploring new places alone is very rewarding. You don't have to follow anyone's schedule but your own.
Take time to breathe
Don't put too much pressure on yourself. If you find that you are frequently feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, make time each day to focus on your inner thoughts and feelings. Start a journal and write down anything that comes to mind. If you let yourself write freely for a half an hour each day, you may be surprised with what you come up with. Journaling can help reach the core of emotional problems, and you may find that you learn something new about yourself every day. Writing also acts as a form of release, so emotions that you may have been holding onto for a long time can finally come out.
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 just to close your eyes and breathe evenly. Try to empty your mind of all worries, all plans, all thoughts. Sit somewhere with no distractions and just let yourself be. As simple as this may sound, it will help relax your mind and give you a clearheaded approach to each day.
Set some goals
Ever since you were young, you've been setting and achieving goals without even realizing it. Setting some life goals helps give 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 picking up an exercise routine or eating more vegetables. They may be related to creativity, such as learning how to draw or writing creative stories. Or they may be related to self-worth, such as meditating each day or keeping a journal. Whatever the goal, visualize yourself completing it. What kind of person will you be when you reach it? Can you imagine the emotions you will experience?
A lot of larger life goals can seem extremely daunting, especially when viewing it from the beginning. The trick is to start small. If you want to run a marathon, don't try to force yourself to sign up for one and complete it the next day. Your body won't be in the shape it needs to fulfill the task, and failing may lower your self-esteem.
Instead, start to train. If you have never run before, start by power walking around the block a couple of times a day. When this seems easy, jog around the block. When this becomes easier, run a mile. Then try to beat your time. Again and again, every week, your body will become stronger, and before you know it, you'll be able to run that marathon easily. Using 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 the routine
Being stuck in the same routine for so long can make life feel mundane and pointless. When days blur into weeks which blur into months, it can be difficult to remember how to be happy. Sometimes the best thing to do is completely change your routine. Have you been working a job you dislike for years? Now is the time to look for a new one! Have you been thinking of taking a trip abroad, but haven't had the confidence to book that plane ticket? Get out your wallet and let's go on an adventure. If you're not ready for such big life changes, something as simple as rearranging your bedroom or painting your kitchen a new color can bring a new spice into your daily life.
Changing something about your daily routine keeps life from becoming too stagnant. Another great way of bringing about change 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 mind.
Have you ever had one negative thought, and then before you know it your mind is swarmed with negative thoughts, and you find yourself right in the middle of an existential crisis? Just one simple thought can spiral into deep feelings of depression. If you find yourself thinking about how lonely you feel, try to stop those thoughts in their tracks before they get out of control. 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 mug of tea while reading a good book. These seemingly simple, mundane tasks can help you refocus and look at your situation in a new light.
Embrace your alone time
One of the biggest advantages of being alone is that your daily routine, thoughts, and actions are influenced only by you. You no longer have to change your plans because your significant other had something else in mind, you can eat dessert before dinner without anyone criticizing you, and you can make decisions on a whim without notifying anyone.
Instead of viewing this as a negative time, try to focus your energy on improving an aspect of yourself or your life that you have always wanted to improve. Instead of putting so much energy into another person, all that energy can now 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, fifteen years from now and start slowly working your way towards that vision.
If you find that your feelings of loneliness are leading to low self-esteem and feelings of depression, know that help is available. Professionally trained counselors at BetterHelp are available at any time to discuss your problems and come up with proper solutions. By learning how to be alone and happy, you can regain control of your life.