How to be happy alone?
There comes a time in many people’s lives when loneliness is inevitable. Maybe our friends are too far, and we haven’t found ‘the one’ yet- and suddenly there’s no one to rely on but ourselves. This scenario can sound really unpleasant, but it’s actually a great opportunity to learn about yourself. Understanding how to be happy alone is useful for many reasons, and can help you grow as a person. Many of the ways people find happiness in their times of loneliness is by experiencing new things and developing new skills; all of which we’ve outlined below.
#1 Understand what makes you happy
A great way to be happy alone is to understand what makes you happy in the first place. What do you enjoy doing that doesn’t involve other people? Almost all of us have something that makes us happy, that we can do alone, and that involves no time or money constraints. This doesn’t have to be big or extravagant, and could simply involve you reading your favorite book.
However, if you genuinely don’t know what makes you happy, then don’t worry. There are many ways to find out what does. For example, an article by Thought Catalog recently published some useful prompts to help us determine the root of our happiness. By finishing the sentence ‘My dream is…’, for example, then you can help yourself determine what the ultimate source of happiness is for you.
#2 Learn something new
The benefits of learning new skills are endless, especially when you’re alone. Taking a class, and studying something previously unseen, is a great way for you to be happy alone. The sense of satisfaction you feel when your efforts finally materialize is nothing short of amazing. For example when you are able to converse in a new language, or produce a useful product.
What’s more, in an article published by Medical News Today, professionals discussed studies that indicate that learning new skills keeps ‘an aging mind sharp’. Which means that not only are you making yourself happy, but you’re also investing in your longterm health.
Exercising is a great way to be happy alone, and for more reasons than you think. Not only are you able to work yourself to a full, red-faced sweat; without worrying about the judgement of your friend or significant other- but you may also achieve better results for your body.
If you’re ‘shy, [a] busy self-starter or highly motivated’ person, then a US News article suggests that exercising alone may work better for you. While group exercise is effective for some, if you fall into any of those aforementioned categories, then working out alone may actually benefit your body by allowing you to work without the influence of others.
#4 Experience things differently
However romantic it is to want to share your experiences with others, it might sometimes detract from your enjoyment of it. So if you find yourself alone, take the opportunity to expose yourself to new things- and love it.
Going to the movies, for example, is typically something you would choose to do in a group. But an article by Ask Men recently referenced to an experiment, the results of which proved that the study “provides empirical support for a key premise of our investigation: consumers who forego hedonic activities alone are missing out on opportunities for rewarding experiences,”. In simpler terms, this means if you opt to do things alone, you’re more likely to undergo a rewarding experience!
What’s more, an article by the Boston Globe discusses a Harvard study on solitude, which recently found that people form “more lasting and accurate memories” if they believe that they are “experiencing something alone”. This means that by experiencing new things alone, you’re more likely to remember it; which is arguably a better use of money and time.
#5 Be uncomfortable
Stepping out of your comfort zone is a great way to be happy alone. Take advantage of the opportunity you have to do something crazy, without anyone there to talk you out of it. We all have different comfort zones, so find a way to safely venture outside of yours.
For some, this could mean booking an impromptu holiday; approaching a stranger, or parachuting from a plane, or diving into deep sea. Whatever you do, make sure you do it for your own personal gain. Consider approaching it as a form of ‘exposure therapy’, and an opportunity for you to get over any anxieties you may have, while also potentially enjoying yourself in the process.
#6 Get on top of your procrastination
With no friends or partners as a distraction, you can finally finish that ‘one thing’ you somehow never managed to do. And appreciating the opportunity to eliminate procrastination is a great way to be happy alone.
This is because, according to an article by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Canadian studies actually suggest that procrastination can lead to depression and weight gain. Which means that if you’re alone, and have no reason to procrastinate, you an actually improve your mental and physical health!
#7 Avoid letting yourself go
Many of us ‘keep up appearances’ for other people’s benefits, which means that when we’re alone, we suddenly neglect to care for our homes or ourselves.
In order to be happy alone, however, you need to learn to care for your things to please yourself. Coming home to an untidy house can be unpleasant and irritating, which means that you should clean it for your own benefit. Likewise, not caring about your appearance or hygiene can lead to you feeling defeated and depressed-as well as self conscious. So to avoid any negativity, learn to care for yourself, for your benefit alone.
In order to make yourself happier while also caring for your home and self, you may consider exploring new alternatives. Rearranging your home and furniture is a great way to enjoy yourself, while also maintaining your home.
#8 Enjoy the company of strangers
An article by bustle.com points out the benefits of going to ‘see your favorite band live’, and reasons that ‘in this situation, you’re not really alone’. This is an important point because it’s relevant in so many circumstances. In fact, it’s very often that we find ourselves alone, but in the company of others. And sometimes, when you’re lonely, spending time with hoards of strangers can become incredibly beneficial.
Aside from a concert, visiting cities and touristic sites; going to museums, reading in a busy coffee shop and going to the theatre are some of many activities that involve other people- so you don’t have to feel quite so isolated when alone. What’s more, don’t be afraid to go to a bar alone. Sitting by yourself can be a good way to meet new people, and can prove quite exciting at the time.
#9 Make plans
The great thing about being alone, is that your plans are not conditional on the availability of anybody else. So if an opportunity arises for you top plan something fun or interesting, then you should take it, and enjoy the happiness that will arise from planning without hurdles. These hurdles could be scheduling or monetary issues that your friends may have, that might stop you from planning things you intended to.
An article by Risk-ology titled ’13 Rules for Being Alone and Happy’ also states that ‘It’s almost impossible to feel good about your life if you don’t have some type of direction for it’- and this holds some validity to it. If you make plans, and give yourself some direction, then not only will you feel happy when you complete these plans- but you’ll also feel more grounded as you enjoy the process. And as being alone gives you the best opportunity to make these plans, then you can find happiness with ease.
#10 Donate your time
Volunteering is a great way to be happy alone. Not only are you filling your time, and maybe interacting with others- but you’re also giving back to your community, and doing some good for society. How you choose to volunteer your days is entirely up to you, but you might consider choosing an activity that makes you happy. If you enjoy reading, for example, then joining an organization that reads to the blind may be beneficial.
However if you enjoy maths or accountancy, then donating your time to an organization like Accounting Aid Society may help you learn new skills and reap the benefits of volunteering. Likewise, if you enjoy crafting, camping or mentoring children, then volunteering or donating at a local girl or boy scouts clubs may be a worthwhile use of your time.
#11 Spend more on yourself
Without a friend or significant other to pay for, your financial budget expands considerably. And who’s to say you can’t treat yourself with your added influx of cash? Treating yourself is extremely important, and while it doesn’t have to involve finances, treating yourself with a new purchase is a good way to get that little surge of happiness.
If shopping without a purpose isn’t your thing, however, consider spending a little more money on something you need- by purchasing it in the luxury variety. If you need new towels, for example, why not upgrade to a more expensive, yet much softer brand? Likewise, why not opt for silkier bedding instead of your cotton linens? Little luxuries like these can truly give you happiness, and help you enjoy your time alone- be it in bed or in the bathroom.
#12 Enjoy the silence
Living or spending time by yourself can also make you happy by giving you some much needed ‘alone time’. With the constant stresses of life, in particular the bright lights and loud sounds of city life, it can be difficult to detach yourself from reality and enjoy some quiet meditation. But being alone lets you do that as much as you need in your free time, which can prove extremely beneficial for your body and mind.
In fact, in an article by the Huffington post, writer Thai Nguyen discusses the benefits of spending time in silence. According to studies, the article states that spending time in quiet solitude can ‘improve memory’, ‘[heighten] sensitivity’ and increase ‘self awareness’. What’s more, the article also references a UCLA study that suggests that ‘Carving out as little as 10 minutes’ of peaceful quietness can ‘thicken grey matter in your brain’. This means that spending time alone will not only make you happier, but may also increase the size of your brain!
#13 Lead a healthier lifestyle
Spending time with other people can lead to you compromising your health. You may eat out a lot, sleep less, and generally engage with people who don’t prioritize their healthy. But in order for you to be happy alone, you need to learn to love yourself. And loving yourself starts with treating yourself nicely.
If you find yourself alone, you may consider radically changing your diet for example. If you’re eating alone, then you won’t face any judgement for making healthier choices. Likewise, sleeping for longer is a good habit to pick up if you’re alone. And as webmd.com points out, sleeping for longer can reduce any chronic pain you may suffer from; improve your metabolism and help you think more clearly.
#14 Understand the benefits
If you’re constantly worrying about the downfalls of being alone, then you’ll never truly enjoy it. However, if you focus on the positives, then you can truly reap the benefits. For example, success is one of many positive outcomes of being alone, because you have more time to focus on and accomplish your goals.
In terms of relationships, there are countless examples of successful businesspeople who never married. Coco Chanel built a fashion empire without presence of a romantic partner. Likewise, successful actress Diane Keaton is famously free of relationships, stating she never married because she was ‘unrealistic’ when it came to her expectations of men.