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Being alone doesn’t have to be lonely.  Loneliness and being alone are two very different things, and that is why you should learn the difference.  Loneliness is not necessarily being alone, as a person can experience loneliness in a room surrounded by people.  Being lonely is a psychological state of feelings of isolation or lack of meaningful social interactions and/or connections.  On the other hand, being alone is about enjoying one’s own company in solitude, without being lonely.  


When you’re alone, you should be able to enjoy being alone with yourself and your thoughts.  When you’re home alone, do you tend to put on background noise or keep yourself busy scrolling on social media?  Learning to be comfortable in silence has so many benefits.  You train your brain in mindfulness techniques, living in the moment, and having no distractions.


If you are having a hard time enjoying spending time with yourself, a good start is by doing some activities to keep your brain busy.  Some activities I love to do alone include reading, doing puzzles, coloring, or journaling.  However, sometimes you may need to be a bit more productive, so enjoying your time alone while doing dishes, cooking, or other chores is important too.  To ease into enjoying time with yourself, I suggest listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks.  These are great options for the person who is used to being around people and noise all the time.  


Once you have graduated from always have sound in the background, practice being alone in silence.  This is a great way to learn to be alone with your thoughts and truly enjoy spending time alone.  Having noise in the background is a great start, but it is also a distraction for people to not fully immerse themselves in their thoughts.  So next time you are alone, I challenge you to partake in an activity that you can give your full attention to, and do some introspection and positive self-talk.  If any of the options before do not peak your interest to do alone in silence, try doing some art work, organizing, walking in nature, or even going for a drive in silence.  These are great times to think about your future, set goals for yourself, focus on the present, practice gratitude, or be kind to yourself.  


Doing this is no easy task and it takes a lot of practice.  I recognize that it may be especially hard for people who may suffer from anxiety, depression, or low-self esteem.  However, I encourage those who may fit into this category to practice positive self-talk.  This will train your brain into recognizing that solitude is “you” time and it will become easier over time.


Just because you are alone, does not mean you have to be lonely.  Obviously take the time when you need to FaceTime a loved one, grab a meal with a friend, or jam out to music in the shower, but also enjoy those little moments of silence.  It can make you appreciate the little things a lot more and be a more positive person overall.  And remember, even being in a room full of people cannot stop loneliness, so enjoy being comfortable in solitude.  Being your own best friend is a highly desired and valuable skill, and I encourage you all to embark on that journey.  

Melissa is President and Campus Correspondent of Her Campus at Bentley University.  She is a senior majoring in Marketing and minoring in Spanish and Psychology.  Melissa studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain!  In her free time, she loves to read, write, play tennis, volunteer, and spend time with family and friends.  You'll usually find her exploring new places and restaurants and then writing articles about them!       
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