How to be happy alone: 10 ways to become your own best friend

Feeling lonely? Follow these expert-approved tips for flying — and thriving — solo.

True happiness comes from within.

And while you can always turn to others for a mood boost, there’s nothing quite like being content with your own company. That said, can you really be happy alone?

Yes, but it’s all about perspective.

The word “alone” sometimes carries a negative connotation since many equate it to being lonely and, well, sad. However, that is simply not the case as the two words have completely different meanings.

Psychology experts are of the opinion that feeling lonely is actually completely different from being alone. Loneliness is a feeling while being alone in a situation.

With the right techniques, you may be able to get past this feeling of loneliness, whether you’re single, going through a breakup or simply miles away from the people you love. For example, if you’re by yourself but connecting to others through good communication or activities like volunteering, you don’t feel lonely.

In fact, the ability to enjoy the joys of quality alone time may just be the greatest act of self-love. Not to mention being alone — whether by choice or circumstance — gives you time to be “introspective, creative, or engaged through activities like journaling, painting, reading a book or building something for your house.”

Read on for tips and tricks on how to be happy alone. Implement one (or all) of these techniques into your everyday life to remind yourself the happiness should always start and end with you. Who knows, you may even find that you’re a better friend, partner and colleague because of it.

Develop a workout routine 

Have you ever noticed how your mood improves after a brisk walk around the block? It’s no secret that a simple walking routine is beneficial for your health. In addition to lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure, walking — either fast or slow — helps relieve stress and increase mindfulness, according to research.

Stop comparing yourself to others

When scrolling through social media, it’s easy to lose sight of who you really are — and what sets you apart. Social media can often lead to comparison, aka “the thief of joy.”

Comparing yourself to others can make you feel inadequate, less than, and left out potentially leading you to experience higher levels of stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem.

If you find yourself feeling down, stop scrolling and remember that we are all on different paths. According to experts, the best way to get out of this negative headspace is to practice acceptance and cut out any of the emotional triggers like Instagram or Facebook.

Curate hobbies 

Your career, family and everyday commitments keep you busy enough as it is, but what do you do for you? Revisit an old hobby or find a new one that sparks joy. Go for something that stimulates creativity like taking up photography or signing up for a knitting or designing course.

Volunteer in your community

Helping others does your heart — and head — some good. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Happiness found that people who volunteer are happier than those who don’t.

Volunteering and giving back helps you find a sense of purpose. By identifying a cause you care about and giving your time to that, you get connected to something beyond yourself, and that can increase your sense of happiness.

Practice self-reflection

Much like looking into a physical mirror, self-reflection is a simple way to gain insight into what you look like — from the inside out.

Activities such as journaling, practicing mindfulness and expressing gratitude help you better understand who you are and what you need. In return, you’ll be able to connect with others on a deeper level. 

Be bold and try new things 

Remember when you tried something for the first time and actually liked it? Of course, it can be daunting, but trying new things opens up a whole new world of possibilities for you.

Come up with a list of things you’ve always wanted to try, everything from daring foods to out-of-the-ordinary activities. One by one, check the items off your list and discover a few favorites along the way.

Lean on animals for emotional support

All pet parents know that they’re never truly alone — as long as they have their ‘baby’ by their side.

Put yourself first

Carve out time to really get to know yourself. After all, “the most important relationship we have is the relationship with our own selves.”

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