The Benefits Of Solitude: How To Be Happy Alone

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated April 22, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

If you're single or don't have close friends and family, seeing other people in relationships might make you feel lonely. Whether out in public or scrolling on social media, seeing other couples and friends having fun together could make you upset about being alone. However, there can be several benefits to being alone. You can learn more about your personality, improve your well-being, and work toward self-fulfillment by spending time alone. Understanding the benefits of solitude may give you hope and a sense of peace, even when you don't have others around you.

Alone time can be rejuvenating

What does it mean to be happy alone?

Being happy alone may mean finding peace with your flaws, circumstances, and significance in the world. It could mean believing and understanding that your presence is valuable, no matter what you believe others want from you.  

According to recent research, people who enjoy their alone time are less likely to be tense, moody, and worried, suggesting that having alone time isn't necessarily harmful and can be beneficial. 

Note that being happy alone isn't the same as isolating yourself from others as a symptom of a mental illness or another challenge. If you're struggling with your mental health, connecting with others and being honest about what you're going through can be healthy. Being happy alone doesn't mean neglecting your emotional needs, relationships, or desires, as social connection is an essential aspect of being human. 

Ways to enjoy your time alone 

Spending joyous time with yourself can be a significant step in the right direction when trying to be happy alone. Below are a few ways you can get started. 

Ask yourself what gives you a sense of purpose 

When alone, consider what makes you truly happy. Ask yourself the following:

  • What situations make you genuinely smile?
  • What are your core interests? 
  • What are values and moral codes you believe you can't live without?  
  • When was the last time you felt a sense of "awe"? 
  • What do you believe your "life purpose" is? 
  • What would you do if nothing were holding you back? 

Make a list of everything you can think of that makes you happy. You can list "the little things," like sipping a mug of tea or planting flowers, or big-picture ideas like traveling the world or volunteering. Look at this list as soon as you wake up each day, and try to include at least one item on your list in your daily routine.

Learn a new skill 

List ten skills you've wanted to learn but haven't gotten around to. Spending time in solitude allows you to concentrate all your energy on what you want to focus on without worrying about another person's desires. Alone time can also inspire opportunities for creativity. Picking up new hobbies can allow you to learn more about yourself, cultivate patience, and express yourself in new ways.

In this step, consider going 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. For example, you could visit a coffee shop down the street or in a distant town. You might find that exploring new places alone is rewarding, as you can go at your own pace and follow your own schedule.

Breathe and be patient 

When learning to be alone, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. If you are frequently stressed, anxious, or depressed, try spending time each day focusing on your thoughts and feelings. One way to start is by keeping a journal. If you let yourself write freely for 30 minutes of uninterrupted time each day, you may come up with unique ideas. Journaling can be a form of self-care by helping you reach the core of emotional problems, and you may learn something new about yourself each day. Writing can also act as a release, so stress and other emotions you may have been holding onto can be expressed.

Practice meditation and yoga 

Meditation and yoga may alleviate stress. Both practices focus on self-awareness and the importance of silence. If you don't have time to commit to an entire yoga routine each morning, consider setting aside five or ten minutes of peaceful time to sit, close your eyes, and breathe evenly. 

In the silence, you can try to empty your mind of all worries, plans, and thoughts. Try not to let your mind wander, and focus on the present moment. In addition, look for a quiet place without distractions and let yourself be. These activities can relax your mind and may offer a clear-headed approach to each day.


Set new goals

Setting positive life goals may improve your well-being and offer you a better sense of direction and self-worth, no matter how small the goals seem. These goals may be related to health, such as starting a new exercise routine or eating more vegetables. Contrarily, they could be related to creativity or your interest in learning to draw or writing short stories. Whatever the goal, visualize yourself completing it. What kind of person could you be when you achieve it? What emotions might you experience?

Many significant life goals can seem daunting, especially when focusing primarily on the first step. When listing your goals, start small. For example, if you want to run a marathon, you might not want to force yourself to sign up for one and complete it in the same week. Instead, consider beginning a training regimen. You can start small by power walking around the block several times daily. When this step gets more manageable, try jogging around the block. When that step becomes more convenient, try for a mile, trying to beat your time each week. Your body and form may become stronger every week, allowing you to complete the marathon efficiently. This method of minor steps toward larger goals may boost self-confidence and motivate you to progress. 

Switch up your routine

Being stuck in a routine can make life seem slower and more repetitive. When the days start to blur into weeks, the world could seem duller, and it may be difficult to remember what made you happy in the first place. When you feel this way, completely changing your routine may be helpful. 

If you've been working at a job you hate for years, consider looking for a new position. If you have considered taking a trip, consider booking the ticket and starting a new adventure. If you're not ready to make significant changes, a more immediate task, like changing 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 stagnant. Another way of bringing about change and improving well-being is to eliminate unnecessary clutter. Consider cleaning out your living area and donating any items you don't need anymore. A clean, organized living space can facilitate an organized state of mind and may improve mental health.

Practice self-love

If you are lonely because you crave validation from another person, consider focusing less on the outside world and your perceived lack of social connectivity and instead practice self-love. Make a list of all the aspects you love about yourself. Do an activity that relaxes you, such as burning incense, taking a long bubble bath, playing calming music, or drinking a cup of tea while reading a book. These tasks may help you refocus and look at your situation in a new light.

Embrace your alone time

In solitude, another person does not influence your daily routine, thoughts, and actions. You don't have to change your plans when you're alone because a significant other has 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 negativity, consider focusing on improving an aspect of yourself or your life that you've wanted to work on. Instead of putting all your energy and time into another person, you can put this effort into improving yourself and making your own life more rewarding. This process could involve your health, finances, spirituality, or career. You can visualize where you want to be five, ten, or fifteen years from now and begin working toward that reality.

Keep yourself occupied

If you're bored and believe you have too much alone time, it might be easy for your mind to wander off into dark territory. Loneliness or sadness may worsen if you're bored. Try keeping yourself occupied by reading a book series, binge-watching your favorite show, or writing a poem. Whatever activity you choose, it may be more productive than doing nothing. 

Escape with music

Loneliness and feeling isolated from society can cause depression for some individuals. Reconnection with yourself using music. Music is a standard go-to solution to escape challenges or relate with others, and it may serve to immerse yourself in a universe of emotion.

Alone time can be rejuvenating

Talk to a professional

If you desire to withdraw from those you love or are unsure how to move forward in a challenging moment, it may be helpful to talk to a professional. A therapist can support you and help you understand how to make the most of your solitude. If you are uncomfortable with in-person sessions, you can participate in therapy in a safe environment by signing up for online therapy platforms like BetterHelp. 

More than one study has shown that internet-based therapy can successfully decrease symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. One study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that individuals experiencing sadness or anxiety were more empowered after utilizing online therapy resources, particularly compared to in-person treatment. The listed benefits of internet-based therapy included ease of use, cost, and flexibility. 

Online therapy can be an effective means of dealing with loneliness. Unlike traditional office-based therapy, online counseling may offer comfort for shy people. If your loneliness is severe, you can message your therapist using the online platform and receive a response when they are available throughout the week. 

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Learning to spend time with yourself and be happy in solitude can be an achievement. Coming to peace with your own company and thoughts can lead to healthy growth and development. However, if loneliness or isolation is causing challenges for you, consider reaching out to a licensed therapist online or in your area to explore this topic further.
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