Loneliness is a feeling I know very well. I live in an apartment with no one but my dog, and I don’t get a whole lot of company because most of my friends have moved to another town, got married and had a family, or simply lost touch due to life happening. As someone who considers himself a loner, I loved the peace and quiet at first, but I found myself feeling very lonely within a few months. My space went from clean to chaos, my productivity crashed and burned, my thoughts took a turn for the worse, and I couldn’t find much interest in anything more than watching movies on Netflix. After living a few months in a haze of sloth, I realized I had a serious problem and decided to learn how to live a happy life alone. This article tackles six key things I learned along the way.
When you’re not around other people, it is easy to lose interest in tidying up your home. You might find yourself with a sky high pile of dishes and mountains of clutter everywhere you turn if you’re not careful. Even if you don’t have a roommate or company that frequently walks in your door, it is in your best interest to clean house at least once per week. If your home is a disorganized wreck, expect to feel stressed out as soon as you walk in the door. A clean home free from clutter will help you feel happy and organized.
If you don’t see beauty in your world, you’re not looking hard enough. If you’re home alone and feeling down, walk outside and spend some time with nature. Watch the birds fly and admire their elaborate flight formation. Listen to dogs barking at each other in the neighborhood and think to yourself, “I wonder what they could possibly be talking about?” Look at that big, old tree that is the size of a giant (and if you’re feeling limber, why not try to climb it?). Plant some flowers, a vegetable garden, or a small tree in your back yard. Go to the park, walk on a nature trail, clear your thoughts, listen to the sounds of the forest, and be in awe of the beauty that’s right in front of you.
Your thoughts can be your best friend and worst enemy. Have you ever noticed that if you find yourself thinking even a single negative thought, it inevitably spirals out of control until you have a nasty chorus of Mental Monsters taking over your brain? If you find yourself thinking, “I feel so lonely right now,” it’s easy to keep that thought process going in the wrong direction until thoughts like, “I will always be alone,” or “no one will ever love me,” creep up on you. Be aware of what you’re thinking about and stop your negative thoughts before they grow into Mental Monsters that are much harder to control. If you find yourself stressing out, do something that relaxes you. Light some candles or incense, take a nice hot bubble bath, perform some gentle yoga poses, or play soothing music.
Being aware of world events is totally okay, but becoming addicted to the news is a sure-fire way to sink your mood. Limit your news consumption to a small handful of articles per day because there is no reason to bury yourself in depressing news stories for hours on end. Watching television is fine in moderation, but spending all of your free hours in front of the tube will do nothing to help you grow or feel better. Read a classic novel you adored in high school, go to a local community theater to enjoy a racy comedy or Shakespearean tragedy, and exercise at least every other day to keep your mind and body at the top of their game.
The best way to feel happy alone is to spend your time creating something that brings you joy. You could write a novel or self-help book and self-publish it on Amazon, start a blog about a topic that fascinates you, go the the park and paint a landscape to hang on your wall, or learn a new language, like German or Spanish. Sometimes it is hard to motivate ourselves to get to work creating at home, so if you’re feeling a lack of inspiration, pack up your notebook and laptop for a field-trip to a park, coffee shop, or downtown bench. A simple change of scenery can do wonders for your productivity.
Who says you can’t go to a movie or eat out by yourself? I love treating myself to hot dates because I can choose to go wherever I desire without considering anyone else’s opinion. Going out by yourself will help you become comfortable with being alone.
If so, what did you do about it? Having friends and family is great but we all need to learn how to live a happy life alone. Please share any tips you have for the single folks who are reading this!
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