While socialising with your friends and family can be uplifting for your mental health, embracing solitude every now and then can be equally beneficial.
Indeed, a study by the British Journal of Psychology suggests that intelligent people become less satisfied the more time they spend socialising with friends. Additionally, the BBC reports that solitude can help you be more creative, focus more, and even result in stronger friendships in the long run.
Some time alone could even help you learn more about yourself, allowing you to be more self-reflective and making it easier to identify your likes, dislikes, values, and how you handle yourself in uncomfortable situations.
Moreover, a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life could help improve your mental health and reduce any stress you’re experiencing, as it enables you to be more in touch with your thoughts and feelings.
So, whether you’re an extrovert who seeks occasional moments of peace, or an introvert who thrives in seclusion, read on to discover five enriching activities that are ideal for performing on your own.
1. Tour the world as a solo traveller
Embarking on a solo journey to explore the world can often be an eye-opening and life-changing experience. Not only could you satiate your wanderlust, but travelling alone could encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and discover more about yourself.
It can sometimes be quite tricky to make friends when you’re an adult. Though, if you go on a solo adventure, you may feel more “pressured” to speak to people that you normally wouldn’t, and you could potentially make some new friends. This could even help enrich your language skills, as you may encounter situations where you need to speak with the locals.
Better yet, since you’re making all the decisions about your itinerary on your trip, this gives you the freedom to spend what little time you have away only doing the things you wish to do. And, since you’re on your own, you can budget more effectively and potentially save some money.
2. Go for a long walk in nature
If you’d rather keep things local, a long walk in nature alone can be a fantastic way to benefit both your mind and body.
A wander in solitude without distraction can help you be more introspective, giving you the perfect opportunity to be more mindful of yourself. Also, you will likely be more aware of your surroundings, making you feel more connected with the world around you.
As for the physical health benefits, a long walk can increase your cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, and even make your bones stronger and improve your balance.
You may even find it therapeutic to walk in nature without your earphones. Not only could this help you avoid any distractions, but it could also allow you to unplug from any screens for a while.
3. Reflect on your thoughts with journalling
Keeping a journal is a helpful way to stay on top of your mental health, and doing it alone gives you adequate time to reflect on your thoughts and feelings and properly process them without judgement or punishment.
Your journal can essentially be your “safe space” to express your struggles and fears, potentially helping you to develop healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with overwhelming emotions you experience throughout the day.
Simply writing down what happened in your day and how you felt in response to certain events can give you a place to visualise your issues. This could, in turn, help you prioritise your problems and concerns, track any symptoms day-to-day so you can recognise any triggers, and learn how to better control your emotions in response to any negative thoughts and behaviours.
4. Try your hand at an artistic activity
Artistic activities can be highly beneficial for your mind regardless of company, and doing it alone could help you express your feelings more through creative action.
The Smithsonian Magazine reports that art could activate reward pathways in your brain, reduce stress, lower your anxiety levels, and even improve your mood.
By getting creative on your own, you could be more introspective without distraction. This is because it takes total focus, and your creations may even be more impressive if you try your hand at art alone.
Essentially, it all comes down to mindfulness – creating art on your own allows you to tune out the daily stress and anxiety of everyday life and focus on a single task that involves self-expression, offering a therapeutic benefit.
Even if you aren’t the most creative person, simply doodling alone could benefit your mind. Indeed, Forbes states that doodling can calm a racing mind and bring it back to a more restful space, much like meditation.
5. Visit a museum or art gallery
Finally, visiting a museum or art gallery on your own can provide a unique chance to reflect on yourself and your emotions, allowing you to disconnect from the world as you view the exhibits.
This could be a great chance to meet new people, as when you’re on your own, you may be more likely to strike up a conversation with strangers about a common interest.
Also, there will be less distraction when you’re alone so you can focus more on the art or exhibits. You could even bring a sketchbook along and draw in the museum or gallery, making the most of the benefits of art.
Better yet, when you’re on your own, there’s no pressure to speed through the museum. Instead, you can walk through at your own pace and set your own itinerary, ensuring you don’t waste time on exhibits you aren’t interested in.
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