For most of us, solitude can be a little disconcerting or even anxiety-inducing. But here’s the truth: you can’t always be surrounded by others. In fact, relying on the company of other people for joy isn’t good for long-term wellness. To really pursue happiness, it’s important to know how to be happy alone.
That’s easier said than done, but even full-on extroverts can feel better about spending time by themselves with these seven strategies. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, try using these tips to reduce feelings of loneliness and enjoy your own company.
1. Develop Your Own Hobbies and Interests
By far, one of the best ways to be happy alone is to practice your hobbies. For example, maybe you like knitting, carving, playing games, exploring, or something else entirely. Whatever it is, well-developed hobbies and interests are the antidotes to boredom and misery when you are by yourself.
If you have something to do with all of your free time, you’ll spend your time doing that instead of wanting the company of other people. That’s why hobbyists can spend weeks at a time attending to their hobbies.
Don’t have any hobbies or interests yet? Don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to figure out what you like to do. Plus, the better you get, the more time you may wish to spend on those hobbies. You may even start to like having a little bit of time by yourself where you don’t have to take the opinions and feelings of other people into account.
2. Connect With Nature
Connecting with nature can also help you become more comfortable and at peace on your own. Mindfulness can be good for your overall mental and emotional health, and spending time in nature, by yourself, is an effective way of practicing mindfulness. Engaging in mindfulness practices in nature can even help you experience more of the beauty and serenity in our natural environment.
Taking a long walk by yourself on a wooded trail, for example, can be mentally rejuvenating and may help you experience more joy during your time alone.
3. Practice Gratitude and Self-Reflection
Gratitude is more than a feeling; it’s an attitude. If you practice gratitude regularly, you’ll find that it may be much harder for you to feel negative or upset about things, including your isolation or lack of social contact.
You can practice gratitude by focusing on feeling thankful for what you have and counting the good things in life. Not only can this lead to a better overall outlook on your life, but it can also help you recognize the perks of being alone more easily.
When you’re first by yourself, you might only notice the negative things about having to spend a lot of time alone. But if you practice gratitude, you might quickly begin to see that there are good parts of having the house to yourself, too!
4. Cut Out Social Media
We know it’s tempting to open up your social media and begin the endless scroll as soon as you find yourself alone, but that might actually be doing more harm than good. Social media can be bad for mental health, especially when it causes you to compare yourself to others.
If you have to spend time alone because of your job or just want to become more content with yourself, you may want to take some time away from social media. Spend as little time on those platforms as possible, and consider putting your phone away so you aren’t as tempted. Take a deep breath, and let the FOMO pass.
You can even use apps to help lessen your social media use. Trust us — taking some time away can not only help preserve your mental and physical health, but it can also help you focus more on enjoying your time away from loved ones.
5. Learn a New Skill
One of the best ways to be happy while alone is to occupy your ample free time by learning a new skill. That’s beneficial for a few major reasons.
- When you learn a new skill, you can improve your self-esteem and your sense of self-worth.
- Learning a new skill takes quite a lot of time, so it can help fill up your time alone.
- When you learn a new skill, you can show it off to people you meet when your isolation ends.
Given all of these benefits, there’s really no reason not to take up a skill like learning an instrument when spending time by yourself. As you learn more skills, you can enjoy endorphin rushes when you get something right, practice self-care, and learn even more about who you are.
6. Journal Frequently
When finding yourself faced with recurrent time alone, it might also be a good idea to take up journaling as a regular practice. Journaling involves writing about your daily thoughts and experiences. There are a few big benefits to journaling from time to time.
For starters, you may enjoy better mental health since journaling can help you get all of your thoughts and feelings out. Furthermore, journaling can help you be happy alone since you’ll be able to “discuss” your thoughts with your journal. It’s kind of like being your own best friend!
Talk about whatever you like, like your relationship status, positive affirmations, or updates on coworkers or family members. You can also write some gratitude lists to practice self-love.
All of this can do wonders for improving your emotional health. Even more importantly, journaling can help you make the most of your time alone. Plus, journaling can help you better understand your emotional self, particularly if you are having a tough time adjusting to a more solitary lifestyle.
7. Maintain a Set Schedule
Lastly, try to maintain a set schedule wherever you are. Schedules are helpful for most people, whether they are by themselves or with others. If you are solitary for the moment, a set schedule can help give your life structure and routine, and may help you not to ruminate on your isolation.
This is doubly important if you are trying to be happy alone, but have to remain in relative isolation due to your job. By filling your day with tasks that must occur at specific times, you can take your mind off your social life. Instead, you’ll focus on tackling your tasks.
Learning How To Be Happy Alone
In the end, only you can teach yourself to be happy alone. But if you can manage this, you’ll be a stronger person overall and you’ll be able to make the best of any tough situation where you have to rough it by yourself.
Knowing how to be happy alone is, above all, a valuable skill that you’ll use time and time again. Check out 1AND1’s other guides and resources for more tips about how to maximize your emotional and mental wellness.
The mind-body benefits of learning a new skill | Piedmont
What are the benefits of mindfulness? | APA.
Study: Social media use linked to decline in mental health | MIT Sloan