American culture teaches us that in order to be happy, or at least fully happy, you have to be in a loving relationship with a partner. We grow up watching fairy tales and Hollywood films that teach us the road to happiness is romantic love. It is no wonder many find themselves single, feeling inadequate and wondering: is something wrong with me? Can I be happy if I haven't found my soul mate yet?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Nothing is wrong with you and you can be deeply happy without a partner. The fact that you are single is not a reflection of your flaws. The time has come to dispel that belief and choose happiness and self-worth instead.
Here are five keys to being deeply happy and single:
1. Find an activity where you experience healthy and safe touch.
Touch is vital to feeling loved, happy, and calm. Touch causes the release of oxytocin and serotonin (two brain chemicals that increase your feelings of pleasure and being loved). While touch is often limited in a single person's life, you can make it a priority. And if you prioritize touch in your life, you will reap the benefits undoubtedly. Remember: it doesn't have to be sexualized.
Some healthy ways to receive touch as a single person are: any kind of partner dancing (some of my favorites are blues, salsa, and tango), massage therapy, pets, self-massage, and cuddling.
2. Spend quality time with friends.
Studies have shown that spending time with friends increases your joy and improves your health. Spending quality time with friends, and doing things you love (with — and without — them!) will enliven you. Nurture friendships that foster your authenticity and allow you to be your true self. You deserve this and it is vital to your deep happiness.
3. Spend quality time with nature.
The natural world brings us into presence, and helps us connect to the mysterious and beautiful. Nature reminds us of our source and the rhythms that guide our lives. If you are single I highly recommend spending time among trees, flowers, and animals at least once a week to nourish your heart and soul. Inhaling the pure oxygen fires up our self-confidence while exercise relaxes our bodies and makes smiles come easily.
4. Create, create, create …
Creativity is fundamental to fulfillment. Feeling in touch with your ideas, your intelligence and your willingness to experiment and take risks will make you feel empowered and, most likely, much happier.
Some ideas for taking creativity off the back burner are: take that improv class you have been putting off, sign up for a painting class, write that book you have been procrastinating on, or dance in your living room. It doesn't matter what you choose, the important part is that you do it with feeling. Use your innate creativity to express your self and you will see more authentic joy spring forth.
5. Always try to stay present and mindful (the key here is trying!).
When you are out of the present moment, it is hard to be happy. Mindfulness allows you to be aware of when the ego has taken you out of the present and with mindful awareness bring you back. The stories the ego spins are often critical and harsh stories. By using mindfulness you can stop the ego in its tracks.
A simple trick: if you notice your mind going into painful thoughts, take a deep breath, look around the room-focus your attention on what is happening now. Then notice something you are grateful for in this moment. This will bring you into the present and into gratitude — two vital ingredients for happiness!
Integrate these five keys into your weekly routine, and you will be on the path to being deeply happy and single. And if you do want that partner to show up, when he or she does you will be that much more desirable, as happiness is incredibly attractive.