Solitude and I are old friends.
I’ve noticed that those who thrive in solitude aren’t just surviving, but truly living. They’ve cultivated habits that allow them to be comfortable in their own company, and to use their alone time productively.
Some folks might think that being alone is synonymous with loneliness, but that’s not the case. In reality, there’s a world of difference between solitude and loneliness.
In solitude, you’re content to be by yourself. You can find joy in the quiet, use your time effectively, and generally feel at peace.
In this piece, I’m going to share 9 habits of people who thrive in solitude. These are the habits that transform alone time from a dreaded experience into a delightful one. Stay tuned if you’re ready to embrace solitude, or simply curious about the habits of those who do.
1) Embracing quiet
One thing that is common among those who thrive in solitude is their affinity for quiet. It’s not just about the lack of noise, but a deeper, more profound silence that allows for introspection and self-discovery.
Quietness might seem like an obvious aspect of solitude, but not everyone is comfortable with it. Some people need the constant buzz of activity or the background hum of a TV to feel comfortable.
But those who thrive in solitude? They’ve learned to embrace the quiet. They see it as an opportunity, not a void to be filled.
They understand that quietness isn’t emptiness; it’s a space where creativity and insight can flourish. So instead of running from the silence, they lean into it, using it as a tool for personal growth and self-understanding.
But remember, this isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a habit that takes time and practice to cultivate. So if you’re looking to thrive in solitude, consider making peace with the quiet. It might just become your best friend.
And remember, there’s no right or wrong way to do this. The key is to find what works for you and stick with it. After all, solitude is all about finding your own path.
2) Prioritizing self-care
In my own experience, I’ve noticed that those who excel in solitude often make self-care a priority. It’s not about being selfish, it’s about understanding that you can’t pour from an empty cup.
I remember one particular weekend when I had no plans, no obligations, just me and my solitude. At first, I was tempted to fill my time with mindless distractions; binge-watching shows or scrolling through social media. But then I remembered my commitment to self-care.
Instead, I spent the weekend focusing on rejuvenating activities. I took long walks in nature, read a book that had been gathering dust on my shelf, cooked healthy meals for myself, and even tried some meditation.
By the end of the weekend, I felt more refreshed and recharged than I had in a long time. This personal experience taught me a valuable lesson; self-care is not a luxury but a necessity.
3) Developing a routine
Those who thrive in solitude often have a well-established routine. It’s not about sticking to a rigid schedule, but more about creating a rhythm that suits their individual needs and lifestyle.
Routine might seem mundane or stifling to some, but research shows it has numerous benefits. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who follow daily routines have better health outcomes, including improved sleep, reduced stress, and better mental health.
Having a routine provides structure and order in your day. It takes away the constant decision-making about what to do next, freeing up mental energy for more important tasks.
4) Practicing mindfulness
Mindfulness is a common habit among those who thrive in solitude. It’s about being fully present and engaged in the here and now, without judgment.
When you’re alone, it’s easy to get caught up in your thoughts and worries. But practicing mindfulness can help you stay grounded and focused.
Mindfulness can take many forms. It might be as simple as paying attention to your breath, noticing the sensation of your feet hitting the ground as you walk, or truly tasting and savoring your food.
Being mindful can help you appreciate the beauty of solitude, rather than seeing it as something to endure. It allows you to tune into your inner world, fostering self-awareness and a deeper connection with yourself.
5) Pursuing personal interests
Diving deep into personal interests is a common trait among those who enjoy their solitude. When you’re alone, it’s the perfect opportunity to indulge in hobbies and passions that truly light you up.
Whether it’s painting, reading, gardening, or learning a new language, having a personal interest gives you something to look forward to in your alone time. It’s not just about filling time; it’s about nourishing your spirit and expanding your horizons.
These pursuits offer a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that can be hard to find elsewhere. They also provide a sense of purpose and direction during solitary hours.
6) Cultivating self-love
At the heart of thriving in solitude, there often lies a deep-rooted sense of self-love. It’s about appreciating who you are, with all your strengths and weaknesses, and being at peace with yourself.
Self-love isn’t about arrogance or narcissism. It’s about recognizing your worth and treating yourself with kindness and respect. It’s about celebrating your achievements, no matter how small, and forgiving yourself for your mistakes.
When you love yourself, solitude becomes a cherished companion rather than an unwelcome intruder. You start to enjoy your own company, because you realize that you are enough, just as you are.
Loving oneself can be a tough journey for many, especially in a world that constantly tells us we need to be more. But those who thrive in solitude have often embarked on this journey, and in doing so, have found a deep sense of contentment and peace in their alone time.
7) Learning to be comfortable with thoughts and feelings
Solitude has a way of bringing our thoughts and feelings to the surface. For some, this can feel overwhelming or intimidating. But those who thrive in solitude see it as an opportunity for growth.
There was a time when I struggled with this. My thoughts would race, my emotions would swing wildly, and I’d feel a sense of unease. I was tempted to distract myself, to run away from what I was feeling.
But over time, I learned to sit with my thoughts and emotions. Instead of pushing them away, I allowed myself to feel and explore them. It wasn’t always comfortable, but it was necessary.
This practice helped me understand myself better. It made me more aware of my responses to different situations, my triggers, and my coping mechanisms. It also taught me that it’s okay not to be okay all the time.
Being alone with your thoughts and feelings isn’t easy, but it’s a crucial part of thriving in solitude. It’s about acknowledging your inner world without judgment or fear. And trust me, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
8) Setting personal goals
People who thrive in solitude often have a clear set of personal goals. They see their alone time as an opportunity to work towards these goals, without distractions.
These goals can range from learning a new skill, improving health and fitness, personal development, or even something as simple as finishing a book. The key is that these goals are personal and meaningful to the individual.
Having personal goals gives direction and purpose to your solitude. It turns your alone time into a productive and fulfilling period, rather than a time of aimlessness or boredom.
9) Embracing solitude, not running from it
Perhaps the most important habit of people who thrive in solitude is that they embrace it, rather than run from it. They see solitude not as a situation to be avoided, but as a state to be welcomed and cherished.
Embracing solitude means accepting it as a natural and beneficial part of life. It’s about finding joy in your own company, appreciating the silence, and using the alone time as an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth.
Everyone’s experience with solitude is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. But the key is to see solitude as a friend, not an enemy. It’s about changing your perspective and seeing the value and potential that solitude holds.
Final thoughts: Solitude, a journey within
The journey of solitude often leads us on a path of self-discovery and introspection. It’s about learning to be comfortable with our own company, embracing our thoughts and feelings, and cultivating habits that nourish our well-being.
Author Paul Tillich once said, “Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.” This underscores the transformative power of solitude when embraced wholeheartedly.
Whether it’s finding joy in quiet moments, indulging in personal interests, or cultivating self-love, solitude can be a rich and rewarding experience. It can provide a space for self-reflection, personal growth, and deep contentment.
As we navigate through life, it’s worth remembering that solitude is not about isolation or loneliness. It’s about taking the time to journey within ourselves, to understand who we are, and to cultivate a healthy relationship with our own thoughts and feelings.
So the next time you find yourself alone, remember these habits. Embrace the quiet. Cherish your own company. And most importantly, embark on your personal journey within. Because few journeys are as rewarding as the one that leads you back to yourself.