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How to Enjoy Your Alone Time

Whether you live alone by choice or whether you have reached such a situation and you feel lonely, as long as you do not know how to make yourself happy, it will be very difficult for you to maintain your mental health. The truth is that everyone feels lonely from time to time, so we must all learn how to turn the time we have with ourselves into time we value and even look forward to; Young and old, couples and singles - basically everyone. It's also important to remember that it's okay and healthy to be alone and get away from the crowd a little. It may sound difficult - to reach a state where you are happy to be alone - but experts and psychologists have all the tools to help you do this and today we will present them to you.

First of all - what is the difference between "alone" and "lonely"

Being alone is a physical state in which you are not in the company of others, while feeling lonely is an emotional state that can exist even when you are in the company of others - explains Dr. Patrick Potter, neuroscientist and founder of the BrainTap app. "A person can be alone without feeling lonely, and the opposite is also true - a person can feel lonely even when he is not alone." It is important to understand the difference between the two conditions, as it can affect the way you handle your emotional and mental state.

lonely girl
"Alone" can be a natural state for some people, as Dr. Brad Thomas, a clinical psychologist in New York, says. "People can be happy being with themselves, and there will be other times when they want to connect with other people emotionally," he says. He adds and points out that each of us should keep an eye on the feelings and emotions we experience in order to understand the extent of our loneliness and how much it hurts us. "Loneliness can arise when we feel that we have no one to share our experiences with or that no one understands us," explains Dr. Dana Kalisnin, psychologist and CEO of Evolutionary Guidance Media R&D.

How to Enjoy Being Alone in the Short Term

There is a stigma attached to being alone, and many believe it is a situation that is "wrong" on some level. "We can view it in a healthier way," says Dr. Thomas. "There are many advantages to being alone, and during such times, you can discover your true passions and experience independence from others' opinions," he explains. You can begin to appreciate the times you find yourself alone during the day or for short periods if you follow the experts' tips:

1. Change the Story You Tell Yourself

If you have gotten used to believing that being alone is a bad thing, ask yourself if you are truly unhappy being alone or if you have just been taught that way—that those who are alone are unhappy. "The story we tell ourselves defines who we are, and if the story you tell yourself doesn't work for you, you have permission to change it," says Dr. Kalisnin.

2. Do Things You Couldn't Do with Others

When you are alone, you have the opportunity to do things you couldn't do when you were constantly in the company of others. This is an excellent chance to try new things, such as meditation. Potter suggests trying breathing techniques, and you can also experiment with various fun and original meditation techniques.
woman meditating

3. Get Active

Just because you are alone doesn't mean you have to sit at home doing nothing. It is recommended to go outside and dedicate some time to physical activity, such as taking a 20-minute walk or longer to boost endorphin levels. During this time, you can listen to a podcast or music with headphones and enjoy your alone time outdoors and in motion.

4. Learn Something New

The time you spend alone is perfect for creating a plan to learn a new skill that will serve you throughout your life. Potter recommends that this skill should also heal the mind and spirit. You can start learning to paint, grow plants, or play a musical instrument.

How to Enjoy Being Alone in the Long Term

The more activities you find for yourself in the short term, the more you will fall in love with your alone time and even look forward to it. Dr. Thomas says this will help you understand yourself better and be more comfortable with the uncertainty that comes with longer periods of being alone because you will know yourself and what you like to do alone. Still, spending a long time alone can be challenging, but it can be made better with the following tips:

5. Create a Routine

Potter claims that a stable routine helps your brain feel in control, making you happier. "Create a fixed routine for sleep time, wake-up time, meals, physical activity, and various activities. This will improve your well-being," he says. In general, you want to balance your body's biological clock and, at the same time, know which enjoyable activities you will have later in the day, so you have something to look forward to.
woman playing guitar

6. Set Goals for Yourself

Even if you fill your day with activities, without setting short-term and long-term goals, everything will eventually feel meaningless. Therefore, Potter recommends challenging yourself and always trying new things, which will keep your brain sharp by constantly experiencing new things.

7. Connect with Others

If the alone time you are experiencing starts to turn into overwhelming loneliness, it is recommended to contact people you haven't spoken to in a long time. Friends from the past, family members you were closer to before, or even people you meet in classes or activities you sign up for—everyone will be happy to spend time with you. The first step might be difficult, but if you do it, you'll see it's not as bad as you thought, and you'll be surprised by the responses from people who haven't heard from you in a long time—they might miss you too, and find it difficult to make the first step as well.

8. Take Yourself on a Date

Have you ever tried going to a restaurant or the cinema alone? It might sound strange to some of you, but you will be surprised at how great such an activity like going on a date with yourself can be. Dr. Jeff Temple, a psychologist at the University of Texas, highly recommends this and says that if you set aside time for yourself like this, it can become a healthy routine you look forward to, even if you are not alone.
woman eating alone in restaurant

9. Adopt a Pet

When there is another living being in the house, you are never truly alone, and that being does not have to be a person. A study published in 2013 showed that people aged 60 and above who kept pets were 36% less likely to feel lonely compared to those who did not keep pets. This step is highly recommended if you fear you are starting to feel lonely.

When to Seek Professional Help for Loneliness

It is important to continuously check whether you are indeed feeling lonely. If you cannot cope with this feeling in any of the suggested ways and it affects your daily functioning, it is highly recommended to seek professional help from a psychologist who will help you talk about the problem and deal with it. This is also true if you simply feel unhappy being alone, struggle to find enjoyment in activities you like or used to like, or if you feel hopeless and purposeless.
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