IDEAS Kira Asatryan is a relationship coach and author of Stop Being Lonely

Most American adults have spent a non-trivial amount of time being untethered to other people. Almost everyone has spent at least a few years being single or otherwise socially ldquoalonerdquo ndash often due to relocating or starting over in a new place.

While some people get a lot of enjoyment out of these more independent years, for others, the absence of a stable social environment is an emotional struggle. If yoursquore having a hard time feeling happy on your own, try the strategies listed below. They all have cognitive benefits, and none of them include dating!

1. Get emotionally on-board with your alone-ness

Alone-ness, in and of itself, is a neutral experience. It can be made a positive experience (ldquosolituderdquo or ldquoprivacyrdquo) if yoursquove embraced it and feel in control of it. It can be a negative experience (ldquolonelinessrdquo or ldquoisolationrdquo) if you believe it means therersquos something wrong with you.

The first step to being happy alone is to accept and embrace the fact that yoursquore alone. It doesnrsquot mean therersquos anything wrong with you. It doesnrsquot mean yoursquore unlikeable or unlovable. It simply means that, for now, relationships wonrsquot be the center of your worldhellip and thatrsquos fine.

2. Develop a relationship with yourself

Itrsquos a mistake to think that you can only have a meaningful relationship with another person. The old adage that ldquothe most important relationship yoursquoll ever have is with yourselfrdquo will never ring more true than when yoursquore in a period of alone-ness.

To strengthen your relationship with yourself, make an effort to get to know yourself better. Ask yourself: What do I really value in life? What do I need more of? What do I need to be done with? Whatrsquos next for me?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start providing yourself with the emotional support and encouragement needed to pursue your newly-identified goals.

3. Let your passions run free

When yoursquore in a committed relationship or constantly around a lot of people, you may notice that your list of ldquopassionsrdquo starts to conform to what those around you enjoy. For example, if your boyfriend loves wine, you may find yourself suddenly more passionate about wine than you otherwise would be.

While this is not at all a bad thing, time to yourself creates an opportunity to explore some of your less mainstream (or less ldquoimpressiverdquo) passions. Want to binge on all the Harry Potter books? Do it! Want to try out every sushi place in the tri-state area? Why not? This is the time to do it!

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