By David Joel Miller.
People stressing you out? Learn to enjoy being alone.
Are you really busy all week? One thing after another to do and most of those things involve doing things for and to please other people? Then suddenly your rapid pace comes to a stop, a day off, a holiday, and you start feeling lonely?
How can you learn to enjoy that time alone?
That down feeling may not be a bad thing.
When all day, every day, is a rush to do with not a minute to yourself you may miss the subtle cues that you are over tired. Accept that feeling exhausted when you are alone does not say anything bad about being alone, it tells you that in the rest of your life you are too focused doing and have not taken the time to let yourself rest.
You need down time to de-stress and relax. Use your alone time to rest and relax, not to catch up on the household chores. Alone time is the perfect chance to practice gentle kindness and self-care.
Use alone time to take stock of where you are.
Staying busy may be a way to avoid looking at yourself, your situation and where you want to go. Allow yourself adequate time to just relax and be you. When you are not pushing to make things happen sometimes a thought will pop into your head. Pay attention to those relaxed insights.
Downtime should be a time for reflection and charting your course. When you are surrounded by others the focus is on what they want. Alone time is a chance to focus on what you want and where you are going.
Use alone time to do something you have wanted to do and put off.
Is there something you have been wanting to do but can’t ever seem to fit into your hectic schedule? Use that down time to do something for you and only you. Read a book, go for a drive. Sit in that yard you worked to care for and watch the birds.
When alone let yourself feel.
Staying busy and engaging with other people is one of the prime ways most of us keep ourselves occupied without getting much accomplished. Busy masks feelings. When you are running from place to place and person to person you may be forgetting to notice how you feel. Feelings are not bad things to be kept at bay by constant activity. Feelings should provide valuable information.
Use your down time to let yourself feel. Notice the positive happy things in your life. Not much happiness? Then use that down time to evaluate how you can change you and get more happiness out of the life you live.
Practice your personal skills.
Much of your life with other people is spent on practicing your group skills. Sometimes groups can be productive and helpful, but not all the time. Some things are best done by one and only one person.
Groupthink is no substitute for developing your personal cognitive skills. A group can exercise together and the group support is good sometimes, but there are lots of times that you need to do the exercise yourself if you are going to get the benefits. Use your alone time to work on you.
Use alone time to tackle tasks that require strong concentration.
Anything that requires sustained concentration will benefit from being done during your alone time. People are nice, social skills are valuable, some of the time. But for tasks that require heavy-duty concentration being alone is the ticket.
During your alone time practice your thinking skills.
Thinking is not the same thing as rumination. A common mistake people make when alone is to spend their time thinking about what is wrong and turning the things that bother them over and over in their mind.
Effective use of alone time for thinking is best spent on thinking about what could be, set goals and clarify values. Take stock of your life but do not judge. Toss the “shoulds and the musts” and focus on the “where you want to go and what you will need to do to get there’s.”
Get your life back in balance.
Life is a balancing act between extroverted and introverted activities. We all need some time around others to be mentally healthy. We also need some time off stage and alone to keep our mental balance.
Even the most strongly extroverted people can benefit from some alone time to get to know themselves and achieve that more balanced place.
You can work on becoming your own best friend.
Use your alone time to get in touch with who you are and what you like. Avoid being a pale reflection of others and develop your inner self.
You can learn to please yourself and live for you.
Too much time surrounded by others, particularly others you need to please, will result in not pleasing yourself. Time alone lets you get clear on your wants and needs and allows you to practice making yourself happy.
Happiness is not an outside job, no one can make you happy in the long run. Living an authentic life, the life you know you were meant to live will maximize your happiness over the long haul.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books
Think about ways you can make your alone time more enjoyable.