Are you afraid that you will be unhappy when you’re alone? This article will show you four ways to be happy in solitude.
Generally I have always been successful in finding ways to enjoy myself alone without getting lonely. Especially the last few years I have been spending my majority of free time in solitude.
Of course, throughout my life I have had plenty of moments in which I preferred company over being alone. On Saturday evenings in particular I found that the pain of boredom was difficult to cope with. But this pain comes from the dissatisfaction in regards to the present moment.
Especially during moments that you “should” be among other people the pain of loneliness occurs. If you want that pain to go away there are two things you can do. Firstly, you can pick up the phone and call someone. Secondly, you can fully embrace the fact that you’re alone.
If you can’t enjoy ‘alone time’ it means that you are dependent on other people or things to entertain you. And if that’s not an option, your involuntary solitude can even lead to destructive behavior. But that’s a subject I will talk about in the future. In this article I want share with you 4 responsible ways to be happy alone.
(1) Practise self-love
This seems like a no-brainer, but when I observe the people I around me I see many that do not give themselves the time of the day. Quite strange when you think of it, because your mind and body are your most important assets; they are your lifelines. And they need to be take care of.
Self-love is a practise that starts with a shift in thinking. To get myself in a state of self-love I replace thoughts like: “I need to have a drink in a bar, I need to chase women in the club, I need to visit that friend,” with thoughts like: “I will take care of my body, I will spoil myself, I will aim for tranquility of my mind”.
Your focus will shift from the thirst for external stimulation and pleasure to the nourishment of yourself. I believe that enjoying yourself in solitude always starts with a sense of self-love. In practise, self-love can be small gestures, like a hot shower, a delicious meal, a power nap, listening to your favorite music. Etcetera. As long as you don’t over-indulge, you’ll have a great time.
(2) Study to get smarter and wiser
If your body is well rested and your mind is quiet like the anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories, being alone is an excellent time to dive deep into educational books or watching YouTube videos that actually teach you something. There are so many mind boggling podcasts and Ted Talk. And how many classics have your read that have changed your life? Have you ever read Stoic philosophy like the Meditations by Marcus Aurelius? Did you already lay eyes on the Tao Te Ching, one of the most profound spiritual works of mankind?
Being alone is a huge opportunity to contemplate on life in order to digest past experiences. Mindfulness meditation can be done to calm down your thoughts, but also to teach you about yourself; about your body’s reactions, about the way your mind reacts to certain things. In short, solitude is a great opportunity to learn about yourself and the world we are living in.
(3) Be creative
Being alone is an excellent time to write, paint, draw, making videos, or whatever your creative pursuit may be. If you are like me, you cannot force creativity. But in solitude you are able to optimize the conditions for your creativity to unfold. Peace and quiet are great assets to let that inner artist flow.
For me, if I create the right conditions, usually it’s just a matter of minutes before the words start coming out to write that article or video script. Being in the flow of creating is one of the most enjoyable experiences you can have in my opinion, and oftentimes the results are satisfying.
Being completely absorbed by something makes you forget the past, forget the future and feelings of boredom and loneliness are simply non-existent.
(4) Clean up your room
This doesn’t seem very fun, and to be honest, it isn’t really what I consider as fun either. “Clean your room” is the mantra of the popular professor and psychologist and author of bestselling book 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote For Chaos dr. Jordan Peterson and is based on the idea that your room, which can also be your apartment, house, or, even, prison cell, is an extension to yourself, and that’s why you should take proper care of it.
Another dimension of Peterson’s cleaning your room philosophy is that the act of tidying up your mess and putting your stuff in order has a meditative effect. It literally calms you down when you create order out of chaos and turn your smelly, cluttered living space into a haven of spruceness. So not only the calming effect on your mind but also the result of clean living space is a bridge to enjoyment in solitude.