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The source of happiness has often been misunderstood. Some say the emotion comes from within. Others are sure it comes from people, titles, and material possessions. Many of us grew to believe the myth and, by doing so, feel compelled to chase someone else’s idea of happiness.
We force ourselves to socialize, chase success, or engage in a romantic relationship in order to be happy.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only does believing the myth cause you to question your ability to be the source of your own happiness, but it can also affect your health.
You can learn how to be happy alone and single and enjoy the benefits of this positively life-changing journey.
Before providing 11 practical ways to accomplish this change in lifestyle, I'll explain the difference between being alone vs loneliness. If you're an introvert, you probably already know hibernating isn't devastating at all.
The end goal, here, is to validate your belief that you are enough and quite capable of living single and happy.
What You Will Learn
- Is There a Difference Between Being Alone and Being Lonely?
- How to Protect Yourself from Loneliness and Depression
- 15 Ways to be Happy Alone and Single
- #1. Embrace your singlehood
- #2. Remind yourself that being alone isn't weird
- #3. Give self-loathing the boot
- #4. Build your support system
- #5. Make a list of your favorite solo activities
- #6. Fall in love with YOU
- #7. Pursue your passion
- #8. Avoid comparing yourself with others
- #9. Find peace and happiness in spirituality
- #10. Embrace loneliness when it shows up
- #11. Live now
- Final Thoughts on How to be Happy Alone and Single
Is There a Difference Between Being Alone and Being Lonely?
Yes. Being alone is choosing to be in your own space, while still remaining grounded and optimistic about life. Your world doesn't necessarily revolve around people nor does it stop when a relationship or friendship falls apart.
Life goes on because you're able to view these experiences as part and parcel of life.
Less social individuals, and introverts, in particular, can attest to this. Introverts are shy, reserved, and homebodies by nature. If you're one, you feel more energized and happy and even thrive in solitude.
Although you can appreciate the value of social interaction and love, you don't crumble because of a breakup.
You're able to retreat to your place of solace, process the loss, and remain balanced. Having these qualities enables introverted individuals to live single, happy, and content with or without romantic connections or a string of friends.
Loneliness, on the other hand, is clinically described as a negative feeling that interferes with your ability to appreciate the meaning of life. The feeling can be brought on by isolation from social life and usually result in a sense of disconnectedness. Ironically, you can also feel lonely in the midst of friends and loved ones.
Humans are intended to be social creatures, so feeling lonely from time to time is normal. However, a prolonged period of loneliness can lead to a decline in physical and mental health.
Researchers found a link between chronic loneliness and isolation and health conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.
How to Protect Yourself from Loneliness and Depression
If you find yourself frequently feeling lonely, there are ways to dig yourself out of the funk before it starts to wear down your mental health. Two key steps to preventing depression are changing your outlook on life and accepting that being single isn't a bad thing.
If you struggle with a fear of being negatively judged, process the emotion and let it go.
Another way to protect yourself from loneliness and depression is by leaning on your support system. This is your network of trusted people and confidants who can offer empathy, validate your feelings, and provide words of encouragement.
Other helpful tools or solutions include:
15 Ways to be Happy Alone and Single
There is no shortage of tips on how to be happy alone. Get ready to dive into 11 powerful tips for living a full and rewarding life in spite of your current relationship status.
#1. Embrace your singlehood
Marriage and romantic relationships have their benefits, but they also have their fair share of stressors. Now that it's history, it's time to focus on the benefits of being single.
The first two that come to mind are unfettered freedom and lots of time to do you. In fact, you may enjoy greater levels of happiness alone and single, according to Marriage.com.
Be grateful for your single status. Embrace it as an opportunity to get to know yourself on a deeper level, flirt freely, or enjoy a platonic relationship.
You have the independence to live life on your own terms, set and chase new goals, or finish projects that were placed on the backburner.
#2. Remind yourself that being alone isn't weird
Introverts and those who are single for a while are sometimes unfairly and harshly judged. They are described using demeaning labels such as “abnormal,” “weird,” or “damaged goods.”
Perhaps it's because society overrates relationships and looks down on people who treasure aloneness. As such, you're viewed as a break from tradition and norms because you choose to live solo. Brazen individuals are keen to ask, “What's wrong with you, why are you single?”
This is your personal life. You control the narrative. You set the rules and owe no one an explanation. Living solo is perfectly normal and can be just or even more satisfying than having a relationship.
There's no need to feel bad about yourself or jump into a relationship just to fit in.
#3. Give self-loathing the boot
Self-loathing is that underlying feeling of hatred towards yourself. Common signs include extreme self-criticism and feeling unworthy or undeserving of good things such as success, happiness, and love.
For example, telling yourself, ‘I'm single because I'm such a loser,” or “I'll never be happy unless I'm with someone.”
That's your inner critical voice talking and it does a good job creating self-doubt and misery.
To experience the happiness you seek, you'll have to push back. You'll have to tame your inner critic. You can combat self-loathing through self-acceptance, self-love, and self-compassion. By doing so, you'll start feeling a lot more confident in your decision to be alone.
#4. Build your support system
You may not realize the value of having people in your circle who genuinely want the best for you until you're faced with challenges. They could be friends, co-workers, family members, or anyone you trust.
These are the people that form your support system and will provide emotional or physical comfort when needed.
Now is a good time to reach out and establish those connections.
People who have a strong support system usually find it easier to cope with the distress, worry, and anxiety of being alone. There's usually a trusted someone to validate your feelings.
They'll let you vent without criticism or judgment and provide a fresh perspective when needed. You'll likely be in greater spirits afterward, knowing that someone's got your back.
#5. Make a list of your favorite solo activities
Even though you might be resilient, there are times when loneliness and self-doubt will creep in, leaving you feeling in a funk. You might even doubt your ability to achieve happiness on your own.
Having a list of your favorite activities on standby can serve as a mental distraction and reduce anxiety or hopelessness.
Take a proactive step and list quick, easy, and practical things you can get involved in whenever you begin to second-guess yourself. Your activities can include reading, watching TV, meditation, journaling, walking, or doing yoga.
Keep the list handy, like in your pocket or within sight on your refrigerator or vision board.
As soon as you start feeling lonely or doubtful, pick one of those activities and snap out of it!
#6. Fall in love with YOU
Plenty of advice is out there on how to be happy alone, but much of it omits this crucial tip. People confess that they're happy when there's someone in their life romantically. For that reason, some chase relationships in search of someone to love them and fill their inner “void.”
They find it difficult to remain single even if it means being in a toxic relationship. Otherwise, they're overtaken by a sense of emptiness and worthlessness.
Falling in love with yourself or increasing self-love helps to satisfy that longingness. You become the source of love and author of your own happiness. You can begin this journey using self-love affirmations, such as “I know that I am complete without another person” and “I have everything I need in life to be happy.”
#7. Pursue your passion
Filling your life with the things you're passionate about is another way to enhance happiness and overall well-being. It could be charitable work, podcast streaming, collecting art, or other hobbies.
Your passion can also be that new career that was put on pause because of other commitments.
A 2015 study, published in The Annals of Behavioral Medicine, found that participants who engaged in leisure activities they were passionate about experienced less stress and higher levels of happiness.
Not only that, but chasing after things you're passionate about can be emotionally rewarding in multiple ways. You might derive a sense of purpose—even euphoria, especially if your work helps improve the lives of others.
#8. Avoid comparing yourself with others
Do you know an easy way to invite self-loathing and misery is to compare your life with someone else's? It can be difficult not to try and see how your life measures up to your peers or people on social media.
Some are married, in long-term relationships, have kids, or are otherwise getting on with their lives.
They appear happy and you can't help but feel your life doesn't match up. Perhaps it makes you wonder where you went wrong. You haven't.
Analyzing your present circumstances with those of others only invites negative feelings, such as jealousy, envy, or inferiority. Begin with the idea that you are UNIQUE.
Your life choices are yours, including choosing to be happy alone and single. Affirm your current experiences by saying, “I'm where I need to be at this point of my life.”
#9. Find peace and happiness in spirituality
Do not underestimate the role spirituality can play as you learn how to be happy alone. Spirituality involves connecting to something larger than yourself. Some people believe that “something” is a God, the universe, an object, or an idea.
Spirituality can be practiced through prayer, meditation, affirmations, chanting, journaling, or helping others.
Those who practice this way of life express feeling awakened, happier, and more alive. Life appears to have more meaning than just a day-to-day existence.
According to an article by Chopra on The Correlation Between Spirituality and Happiness, “Spirituality…encourages optimism and the pursuit of a joyful life.” In addition, spiritual people tend to process challenges more gracefully and cope better with stress.
#10. Embrace loneliness when it shows up
Happy people can and do get lonely occasionally. While having a support system is great, there may be times you'll need to sit through feeling lonely on your own.
It could be a day when your confidants are unavailable and you're forced to rely on your own inner strength.
Try not to fight the feelings. Show self-empathy and remind yourself that you're human. Like other fleeting feelings, such as anger and sadness, this too shall pass.
Perhaps you could also try affirmations for happiness and positive thinking. I repeat them whenever I feel like I'm slipping into a low mood or about to be engulfed in negative emotions.
#11. Live now
We're more prone to put off living fully because of being wired to think life is only enjoyable when we're coupled up or surrounded by lots of friends.
Nod if this sounds familiar: “I'm putting off traveling and vacationing until I'm with the man of my dreams.” “I'll wait until I'm married to own a home.”
Your life is slipping by and there's no guarantee you'll find the man of your dreams or get married. If anything, you may become bitter for not living life to the fullest.
These are merely conditions and expectations that are barriers to your present happiness. In the meantime, be your own companion and travel buddy.
It's not about thinking you don't need anyone, it's knowing you're enough and choosing to live life to the fullest, whatever comes your way.
Final Thoughts on How to be Happy Alone and Single
Single and happy go together, and it has nothing to do with social isolation or being cynical. The naysayers will try to convince you otherwise… but don't allow anyone to make you rethink your choice, based on their opinions and belief system.
Instead, turn your attention to the many ways you can accomplish your happiness goal and live a rewarding life just the way you are. For further inspiration, try reading our article on 5 Reasons to Stop Chasing People (and Relationships) and become your own best friend.