These days, it seems like we've forgotten how to be happy alone. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment our head hits the pillow, we're constantly on the go, surrounded by people, and never far from our smartphones.
When you do finally have a moment to yourself, you may not know what to do. In fact, researchers from the University of Virginia found that people, particularly men, would rather experience a mild electric shock than be alone for up to 15 minutes.
We get it. Alone time sounds lonely and antisocial, but it's actually quite good for you. While our culture of staying busy makes alone time seem negative and unproductive, "me time" is one of the best ways to relax and recharge—and it doesn't cost a dime. If you want to learn how to be happy alone, here are some simple steps to help you become more comfortable:
Just like most things, being happy alone is a learned skill, and oftentimes, the hardest part is just starting. But that doesn't mean you have to dive right in and dedicate an entire day or weekend to yourself. Instead, start by setting aside small chunks of time to spend alone. Try meditating for five to 10 minutes in the morning, take a walk at lunch, or dedicate 30 minutes to yourself after work every day. Once you start to become more comfortable spending time with yourself, you can start to stretch out your "me time."
Make Plans with Yourself
One reason people don't like spending time alone is that they're afraid they'll be bored. Instead of holing up in your apartment and staring at the walls, make plans with yourself. Go see a movie. Try that restaurant you've been dying to check out. Visit a museum. Treat this time like a special date with yourself.
Try Something New
When was the last time you tried something new? If you'd like to spend more time alone, try exploring new hobbies. Maybe there's a painting or fitness class you've wanted to try but haven't found the time. This is a chance to explore your interests and discover what you really enjoy without being judged by anyone else.
Write in a Journal
By taking the time to put pen to paper, you can start to sort out your thoughts and feelings. Plus, if you have pent-up emotions, this is a great (and healthy) way to release them. If you're uncomfortable being alone, journaling is one way to explore and get to the root of why you're feeling that way.
In today's world, we rarely have a chance for true solitude. While spending time alone may take some getting used to, we can all benefit from it. It's a perfect opportunity for you to let your mind wander, which often spurs creative thinking and problem solving. If you know how to be happy alone, you'll likely be living a happier and healthier life.