While feeling isolated can have a negative effect on mental health, being alone at least some of the time can be enriching and liberating. It can help us learn more about who we are, trust our own instincts, and develop a greater sense of independence.

How happy and comfortable we are spending time alone can also impact the quality of our relationships with others. If you enjoy your own company, chances are you’ll be able to form healthier, more loving connections that are underpinned by boundary-setting and mutual respect.

While finding joy in your own company may sound easier said than done, it’s something that can be worked on over time – and the rewards are definitely worth it.

Below, we’ve put together a list of eight tips to help you fall in love with your own company. We hope you find them useful.

1. Try not to avoid spending time alone

Try not to avoid spending time alone

While it might sound obvious, the best way to get comfortable with being by yourself is to make time to be alone.

If the idea of spending time alone leaves you feeling nervous or uncomfortable, it might seem easier to avoid it altogether. For example, by making plans with others whenever you have a free moment or getting straight back on the dating scene the minute a relationship ends.

Often, the reason that people struggle to be alone is that they have to confront difficult thoughts and feelings that they might have otherwise ignored. However, in order to move past these strong emotions, it’s important to acknowledge and accept them. Embracing this discomfort can provide us with the clarity needed to heal, break away from unhealthy patterns, and live more authentically by engaging with activities we actually enjoy.

Some people find it useful to offload uncomfortable thoughts and feelings into a journal during moments alone. This can help to put things into perspective.

Learning to accept and observe your emotions is a powerful first step in the journey to enjoying your own company. While it can be challenging and requires courage, studies have shown that doing so can lead to improved mental health and inner peace.

2. Allow yourself to be present

Allow yourself to be present

“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience”

In the same way that it’s important to allow yourself time alone, another key step is to work on being more present, rather than filling time alone with distractions that don’t give you space to think or feel.

Being truly present is about steering your mind away from the past and future, and instead, paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, or surroundings at that particular time.

In today’s world, this may mean unplugging from technology. Spending too much time on social media can increase feelings of loneliness by convincing us that we’re missing out – and technology in general can place us in a state of high alert, making it difficult to relax.

Our introduction to mindfulness and our article, 10 everyday activities that can help you stay in the present moment, offer some useful tips on getting started. You may also like to sign up for a mindfulness meditation over on Rest Less Events.

3. Practise gratitude and optimism

Practise gratitude and optimism

If you struggle with negative thoughts when you’re alone, particularly self-limiting ones, it can be useful to find ways to reframe them.

There are a couple of skills that can help with this: gratitude and optimism. Gratitude is about focusing on the good things in life, no matter how small (such as the sight of the sunrise out your bedroom window each morning), while optimism is about learning how we can use every situation to our advantage.

For example, if you didn’t get the job you were going for, rather than telling yourself that it’s because you’re not good enough, you could remind yourself that it wasn’t the right opportunity for you. Plus, you now have more time and space to focus on finding something even better.

If we can learn to appreciate the little things and see life through a more positive lens, then time spent alone can feel less daunting and more opportunistic. Plus, time spent with others becomes even more precious.

4. Make time to learn more about who you are

Make time to learn more about who you are and what you enjoy

“Until you get comfortable with being alone, you’ll never know if you’re choosing someone out of love or loneliness”

It’s possible to face the realisation that you don’t know who you are at any stage of life. For example, you may feel unsure where your passions lie, what you enjoy, or what’s most important to you. And while this can be unsettling, it can also be incredibly exciting, as it can lend way to a beautiful journey of self-exploration.

Spending time with ourselves can be much more fun when we have a clearer idea about how we’d like to use it. For example, if you’re creative, you could pick up a hobby like painting, writing, or crochet. Or if you’re passionate about helping others, you could explore ways to give back to your community, such as through volunteering.

Learning more about who you are can also help you build a lifestyle that’s compatible with your core values and beliefs. It could be the catalyst for a move to the countryside or coast, or give you the nudge you need to start prioritising things like diet, exercise, or quality time with family and friends.

Once we start living in a way that’s more true to who we are, other things in our life tend to start falling into place, and time to ourselves can become something we relish, rather than dread.

If you want to delve a little deeper into understanding yourself, check out our articles; 10 practises for self-exploration and 7 tips to figure out who you truly are.

5. Arrange a date with yourself

Arrange a date with yourself

Too often in life, we wait for other people to do things with and let opportunities pass us by. This can lead to feelings of resentment about being alone, because we can start to see it as a limitation, rather than a strength.

Therefore, in order to reap the full benefits of spending time with ourselves, we may need to push beyond the limits of our comfort zone and find the courage to take on more solo ventures.

Many of us may do this in small ways already. For example, it’s not unusual for people to prefer going shopping alone so they can take their time browsing. If we’re prepared to take the leap and recognise the potential that time alone can bring, we can extend this feeling to many more experiences in life, such as hobbies, travel, and days out.

While sharing meaningful experiences with others is important, time alone can be a chance to do exactly what we want, when we want, without having to answer to anyone else. This can be incredibly empowering and liberating – plus, we tend to be proudest of the things that we achieve by ourselves!

If the idea of a solo holiday or day out feels overwhelming, why not start small by arranging a lunch or evening date for one? You could commit to going to see a movie by yourself or heading for a bite to eat at your favourite cafe, armed with nothing but a good book for company. Once we let go of the view that we can (or should) only do these things with others, it’s amazing how quickly we can start looking forward to dates with ourselves.

For more solo ideas, you might want to take a look at these 41 exciting things to do by yourself from Virgin Experience Days.

6. Try not to worry about what others think

Try not to worry about what others think

“The sun is alone too. And he’s still shining”

Something that can sometimes hold us back from truly enjoying our own company – particularly in public – is the idea that people are judging us.

So, it’s important to try and let go of any worries about what other people might think of you stepping out on your own. Nine times out of 10, even though we may feel self-conscious about showing up for a movie alone, no one is looking at us, and if they are, it might not be for the reasons we think.

It’s not uncommon for people to look at those on their own with admiration, wishing that they too had the confidence and courage to do exciting things by themselves. Who knows, you may even inspire someone to take on their own solo venture!

7. Practise self-care

Practise self-care

Time alone can also be the perfect opportunity to practise self-care and build a more compassionate relationship with yourself.

Quality time alone can be a chance to unwind, recuperate, and do things exclusively for you; whether that’s cooking a delicious meal, taking an undisturbed nap, making time for exercise, or indulging in your favourite hobby. It’s also important for keeping us happy, healthy, and resilient so we can be better equipped to take on whatever life throws at us.

Self-care is something that many of us overlook when the busyness of life gets in the way. But without it, we can end up stressed, anxious, and exhausted, so it’s important to learn to listen to your body and recognise when you need some TLC.

If you struggle to prioritise self-care, it can help to start small. For example, why not try to spend just 10–15 minutes each day doing something that makes you feel good – even if it’s just reading a chapter of your favourite book? For more inspiration, check out our list of 33 self-care ideas or read our article; 8 ways to get your ‘me time’ and why it’s important.

8. Reconnect with your goals – or set new ones

Reconnect with your goals – or set new ones

“Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear your own voice and not let it drown in the noise of others”

Last but not least, using time alone to boost personal growth can make it feel far more fulfilling.

Being on our own gives us space to focus, daydream, get creative, problem-solve, and be productive, which can bring us closer to our goals. It can also allow us to grow through practises like reading (just look at the popularity of self-development books) or learning something new.

If you aren’t sure what your goals are, time alone can also help you create some and work out what you need to do to achieve them. Listening to and following your inner voice is often easier without the influence of others.

To explore your wants and desires, you could try creating an inspiring vision board. This can act as a daily reminder of your goals and keep you motivated in moving towards them.

Final thoughts…

Sitting alone with our thoughts isn’t always easy – but it’s a necessary step in learning to enjoy our own company.

The aim of this article isn’t to suggest that we don’t need meaningful relationships with other people. Instead, it’s to remind us that a healthy amount of alone time can give us the space to relax and recharge, develop our independence, learn more about who we are, and reconnect to our goals – all of which can bring greater meaning and purpose to our lives.

For further reading, head over to the healthy mind section of our website.

Do you enjoy your own company? If yes, is this something that came naturally, or something you had to work at? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.