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 spending time with yourself is a bad thing. Fortunately, what may seem like a very difficult time can actually be one of the most rewarding. By spending time alone, you can learn more about your true self, and how to work toward ultimate happiness.
What Does It Mean to Be Happy Alone?
Being happy all 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 torecent research, people who like spending time alone are less likely to feel tense, moody, and worried? This only adds evidence to the notion that spending time with yourself 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? 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. Having time alone allows you to concentrate all of 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 creative development. 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, 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 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 half an hour each day, you may be surprised by 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 each day. Writing also acts as a form of release, so 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 just to close your eyes and breathe evenly. Try to empty your mind of all worries, plans, and thoughts. Find a quiet place without distractions and just let yourself be. These simple activities will help to dramatically relax your mind and give you 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 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 starting up a new exercise routine or eating more vegetables. They may be related to creativity, 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 reach 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 will become stronger, and before you know it, you'll be able to run that marathon with ease. 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 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, 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? Take a chance 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.
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 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. 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 being alone is that your daily routine, thoughts, and actions are only influenced 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. 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've always wanted to work on. Instead of putting all your energy 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 all on your own. 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.
Keep Yourself Occupied
If you're bored and alone, it might be easy for your mind to wander off into dark territory. 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
Feeling isolated from society can cause you to feel alone and depressed. 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.
Get the Help You Need
Studies have shown that internet-based therapy canhelp successfully decrease symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. One study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that patientsexperiencing 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 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 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 alone, 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 alone is an outstanding achievement that you should feel proud of. When you come to peace with your own company, 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.