Living alone, solitude and happiness? All rarely mentioned in the same sentence, yet there is a real kind of happiness to be gained from spending time alone and benefiting from times of solitude – an everyday experience for people living solo.
Gone are the days when being alone and living solo was for the most part frowned upon; where solitude was seen as something to avoid at all costs, set in the backdrop of a huge focus to couple up, go forth and multiply. For a long time, living alone was a situation many people would not want to find themselves in – at least not in the long term – but is this true today? Let’s say times are changing.
The benefits of solitude
More recently there has been a shift towards seeking time for ourselves and indeed figures show the numbers of people choosing to live alone are increasing. Better still, scientists have noted wellbeing benefits associated with solitude when people are alone by choice. It can ultimately be good for you, particularly during turbulent times in life when we are usually accustomed to reaching out to others.
The opportunity to remove yourself from a difficult situation, for instance, spend time alone and be able to examine a scenario, how it has been shaped and your role in it, may present new perspectives difficult to reach when surrounded by others.
The individual is celebrated
Who has not noticed the recent trend where people are becoming more focused on themselves? Selfies, self-care, mindfulness and striving towards individual goals are pursuits certainly encouraged and prevalent on television, social media and other mediums of popular culture. Noticeably, there is greater emphasis on being comfortable with our self and in our own skin.
This, in turn, not only impacts people’s perception and attitude towards living alone but also makes us feel better about investing time and effort in our own individual wellbeing. Living alone lends itself to helping us develop and become the individual we want to be and equally, it’s important to dispel the notion that times of solitude are times of inactivity as some people may believe.
How can solo living make us happy?
As we know, the number of people living alone is rising and the thinking behind the change can in part, be explained by more us embracing solo life for very positive reasons. We reckon some of those reasons will include:
Helping people find themselves
In the quest for self-discovery people living alone may well have fewer distractions leaving them predisposed to more solo time and the ability to be more focused on finding and being their true selves. Some may argue finding our true self is a consequence of living alone rather than the reason for it – which is an interesting proposition in itself, worthy of further exploration.
Ultimately, the experience of living alone can enrich a person’s quality of life making us aware of our strengths and weaknesses as well as our goals and motivations.
Being better to others
When you are more comfortable and happy with who you are, it’s those around you who will benefit the most. You can offer friendship to people you really value in life when you are clear and honest about what you can realistically offer another person in addition to the time you are able to commit to a relationship – whether it be a family member or friend.
Solos are thought to be more socially active because when you live alone, the relationships you build are vital to staying connected in a very positive way and the better you know yourself, the easier establishing meaningful relationships will be.
Less pressure from others
It is often cited that people can still feel lonely even when surrounded by family and friends. However, when living alone you can be much more at ease with your surroundings and find peace in your own company. Having your own living space can mean it is easier to escape and find sanctuary from the pressures created by family and friends.
Solo living space provides a buffer from work
Your living space and status can provide a much-needed buffer from the pressures of work, enabling you to relax and again, find sanctuary at home rather than have a whole new set of family-related pressures to encounter. Having a work-life imbalance can present physical and mental health problems if not managed well, so it is easy to see why a simpler home life can really help someone remain grounded and in touch themselves – particularly if working in a demanding job.
When it comes to feeling good it doesn’t necessarily mean taking compliments from other people. Solo living means fending for oneself on every level – taking care of home, finances, cooking, cleaning, repairs, etc., are all tasks that need doing. Undertaking these tasks solo can help develop new skills when living alone and more so, can instil a sense of pride and achievement. In turn, this can do wonders for your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Enables you to switch off and unplug
Being connected to the real world 24/7 can also be mentally and physically draining. When living solo you can filter and control everything you do and get involved in. As such, unplugging when needed and taking the time to de-stress and relax is compatible with solo living. Really taking time out from a gossip fuelled and switched on world can mean finding inner balance and unlocking hidden creativities.
Living alone invites happiness not pity
For those of us living alone by choice or acceptance, it can mean finding potentially immeasurable levels of happiness and peace. It’s not unreasonable to find yourself subscribing to the growing understanding where being part of a couple is not the only way to find joy.
Solitude can bring about several benefits not least that it is down to us as individuals to seek contentment and find fulfilment for and by ourselves, rather than waiting for someone else to enable this for us. While it may be assumed living alone may only be temporary, there is actually an argument for consciously remaining single forever in order to be happier!
Society may condition people to gravitate towards coupledom and all that goes with it but in fact, living alone could be much more secure, flexible and liberating.