10 Proven Ways To Be Happy Alone And Feel Less Lonely
Being alone can sometimes lead to feelings of loneliness. But it doesn’t have to bring up that feeling necessarily. Alone time can actually be a great chance to learn more about yourself, and create an environment that welcomes in your best self. Heather Z. Lyons, PhD, a psychologist and owner of Baltimore Therapy Group, believes that we are made to be social creatures, but need downtime too. “Humans are social beings, hardwired to be connected to others. At the same time, it’s important to learn how to tolerate and even appreciate alone time in extended periods,” she says. Because it is so essential to spend quality time alone, check out these 10 proven ways to be happy alone and feel less lonely.
Get to know yourself
If you have a relationship with yourself, then you will enjoy spending time with yourself. This is a difficult, but necessary task.
Do volunteer work
Studies have shown that volunteering at least once a month greatly contributes to mental health and wellness. And the great thing is that technology has advanced so much that you can volunteer and never leave your house, such as giving free lessons or donating to charities.
Learn something new
Alone time can be more fruitful if you are adding to your knowledge. Learn a new task or theory. This might include engaging in activities that require executive functioning skills like focus such as reading or creating.
Work out regularly
Active lifestyles are one way for everyone to achieve happier alone time. “Partaking in a daily, mindful walk, or engaging in some form of physical activity could alleviate anxiety,” says Leela R. Magavi, a psychiatrist and medical director. Studies have revealed that people who exercise on a regular basis have 43.2% less mental health challenges daily than those who do not.
Get out into nature
At least two hours in nature a week has been shown to increase feelings of good well-being and health. This means that taking small steps to get outside can help to improve your alone time, whether that includes walking, hiking, or just sitting outside your house.
If you are caught up in what you don’t have, it can be easy to lose sight of the things you do have. Try to list things you are thankful for physically, emotionally, and spiritually, especially when you feel lonely. “Furthermore, creating gratitude lists and reading these out loud in front of the mirror could help target multiple sensory centers in the brain to maximize the benefits of this activity,” says Magavi.
Give social media a rest
We all know that social media is a great tool for information and communication. But it can also contribute to negative self image and thoughts about one’s life. Studies have even shown that social media actually increases feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Go on a date with yourself
As much energy as you put into a person you are dating, try doing that for yourself. Taking yourself on a date can symbolically and subconsciously tell you that you’re special, and that you enjoy your own company.
Do some meditation
Practicing mindfulness may sound like a cute term that seems far-fetched. But tuning into yourself and tuning out your surroundings can be very peaceful and rewarding. Studies have actually shown that meditation can also increase the gray matter of the brain, which is in charge of emotional regulation and perspective.
Get a pet
Even if you do not have a human companion, an animal friend can be a great source of love and comfort. Fun, furry companions bring laughter and joy into the home, as well as a sense of responsibility and routine: all things that make alone time even better. What is great about pets is that you don’t necessarily have to have one for yourself if you aren’t ready for the long-term responsibility. Try visiting with a friend’s pet or walking their pet if you just want to give it a try first.