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Happiness Tip: Spend Some Time Alone

Are we always better together?

Last week’s tip emphasized the importance of our social connections. But alone-time is just as important for our happiness and well-being, and it is something that parents and couples tend to get less of.

Spending time alone can foster inner-peace and mindfulness; and it can also help us be more independent. It isn’t that dependence is always a problem, but sometimes when dependence adds up to a lack of autonomy, it can actually increase our stress. Stress is, of course, bad for our health and happiness.

Take Action: This week, make a date with yourself and actually put it on your calendar. What do you want to do by yourself? What would bring you peace or a greater sense of autonomy? Inspire others by leaving a comment here.


  1. Janine Kovac says:

    I have a Google calendar just for the yoga classes that I plan to take. First of all, it helps me find a time that realistically works with all the other overlapping family schedules, but it also helps me keep track of how often I actually do make it to class. I go to a lot more yoga classes than I think I do! 

  2. Leah says:

    I highly recommend Susan Cain’s book Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World the Can’t Stop Talking.  It has helped me understand my introversion as the strength it is, and that has helped me set better boundaries with the extroverted world.  Last Sunday I spent the entire afternoon reading on our porch while the crab apple blossoms filtered down on the pages.  Seventh heaven.  I’m also protecting more evenings at home.  My beloved brother who died of multiple myeloma 9 years ago shared this wisdom: “saying no to one thing means saying yes to another.”  Our yes to solitude and space makes our Yes to the world fuller and freer I believe.   

  3. Kim Davison says:

    I am flying to California from Michigan on Friday – and back on Sunday – to attend a funeral. I am looking forward to the quiet time to just sit and reflect.

  4. As Socrates said, “Let him who would move the world first move himself.”  I’m a very busy and successful doctor of chiropractic. After a long day listening to, caring for, and helping others I have to get quiet time for my “head.” It’s very challenging to answer more questions, make more decisions, and listen at the end of some days. 
    Just a few months ago (after a year of successful therapy due to burn out:) I changed my unhealthy coping strategies to healthy ones, and I’m so much happier. The coping tools I was using made my own healthcare progressively worse (I was excessively playing games, drinking wine, watching movies/T.V., and reading.) 
    Now creating my dinner is my new coping strategy. It’s all about taking care of me, sometimes I turn on relaxing music on my iPhone while I do it. I’m taking pleasure in making a healthy organic meal, rather than be resentful that I have another “job” to do. It seems so simple and obvious and feels strange to write down that it is hard, but my other coping tools seemed necessary (habits and were successful in getting me away from all the problems circling in my head (past and future) and allowed me to just be in the moment. In order to do this new habit successfully I have to decide on my meals at least 24 hours ahead. You see, sometimes the meat has to be thawed or if fish purchased a day or 2 ahead. Also I need to choose in the morning when my brain is fresh what vegetables I will use. This way it’s already decided…because at the end of the day my brain is exhausted from active listening and problem solving and emotionally/cognitively empathizing, and actually causes pain to make another decision. I wonder if this is true for other doctors too? My husband is very supportive and a therapist so he understands me often better than I do, and even knowing this and finally understanding why…I still go through this process. Taking time for yourself is self-compassionate. Planning ahead to protect myself when I’m likely to be vulnerable has been successful and rewarding for the values that I have about my health.

  5. Roland Jarka says:

    I love all these ideas that people have.  I’ve started taking a minute each hour for myself and using a technique I created called The Miracle Minute: take a long, deep breath, feel grateful for some person or something, acknowledge yourself for something, and set your intention for the next hour.

    It really helps me stay happy, peaceful and focused.  You can download a longer description at: https://www.rolandjarka.net/7.html  Enjoy!

    Roland Jarka

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