Single and happy? Mindfulness helps to experience love for oneself too – iO Woman
AndBeing single and happy isn’t easy. Not just because society is still regarded with suspicionand often also from the family, but because very often we are the first to struggle to accept the situation. Yet not living as a couple has its advantages, as Carolina Traverso, psychologist and mindfulness teacher and author of the new book, explains. Simply singlepublished by Hoepli: “Even today, those who are single, especially if they are women, are considered a person who has not conformed to cultural and social expectations dominant and too often it is thought that something is wrong.
Not to mention the possible non-acceptance of the situation by the person himself. In this sense, mindfulness helps a lot, teaching not only to manage moments of loneliness and anxiety but also to appreciate and experience love in all its forms. Leaving the tendency to make it coincide always and only with the romantic ideal of a partner ».
Singles on the rise in ten years
The number of singles is constantly increasing. Yet the fear of not being in a couple and being alone is still taboo which has never been addressed. Istat data show that from 2001 to 2020 the number of singles living in Milan and Rome has doubled, respectively today they are 52.8% and 47.5% in the capital. And if the discourse extends to a European level, in many large cities the people who live alone, by choice or circumstance, are 50% of the population; in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany 40%.
“Faced with these data, we realize that we live in a historical era in which lasting relationships are less frequent. And it turns out then it is necessary to do an emotional work on oneself to accept one’s “singleness”. Which should also be experienced as an opportunity for personal growth, thus going beyond the social cliché that if you are single, especially in old age, you are out of place “, analyzes the expert.
A fear so deeply rooted that “the American sociologist Bella DePaulo coined the term “singlism” to indicate all the stereotypes and discrimination to which those who are alone are still subjected today“.
What is Singlism
Singlism contains all the prejudices that, even unintentionally, continue to be thought of when it comes to singles “Even unknowingly, for example, we tend to automatically assume that those who are married or in any case in a couple are happier and healthier than those who are not, just as a single person is thought to be obsessed with finding a partner.
Or when someone proposes, even with the best intentions, to get to know an obviously incompatible person as a potential boyfriend or girlfriend, it is often done because one thinks that those who are alone live the situation with discomfort. Or again, how many times in the professional sphere it is believed that singles can stay late at night in the office, work even on holidays because their personal life is considered less important compared to that of someone who has a family? ‘
These are all singlism behaviors. Which are internalized not only by society, but also by the singles themselves: «I noticed during Mindful Single Session in which I interviewed several singles about the relationship they have with their status, who had internalized so many of these behaviors themselves, so much so that they wondered “What’s wrong with me if I’m single? ”. It is a thought that hurts a lot and contributes to the fear of being alonewhich affects not only those who are not in a relationship but also those who are in a couple but do not live a happy life and therefore are content with not being alone ».
Because mindfulness helps overcome this fear
If, as the psychologist Traverso points out, dating apps can be one more way to get to know people“The frenetic pace of life, especially in large cities, does not leave much room for new acquaintances”, too mindfulness comes to the rescue.
By practicing it you become your own best friend and you reach the awareness that you are already complete. It is not necessary for another person to arrive to be happy. “The answer to feeling alone is not to socialize more, but to rediscover loneliness as a choice. A moment in which to recharge, reflect, draw on your creative energies or, simply, enjoy a moment of rest, free from the requests of others. We all go through moments of loneliness, regardless of being single or as a couple. But, if in moments of loneliness, thoughts such as: “I’m not enough”, “Nobody loves me”, “I have something wrong”, then loneliness becomes an enemy from which to flee in the air ».
It is in this context that this practice fits. In fact, mindfulness helps to modify the brain structures, exploiting neurplasticity «Richard Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has identified meditation as a very powerful tool in this sense. Happiness is a matter of training. The cells and neurons of the brain are constantly making new connections altering the old ones in response to new stimuli “explains the expert.
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Added to this are the results of scientific research on mindfulness that highlight how to meditate leads to several benefitsincluding stress reduction, cortisol levels and arterial tension are lowered, in fact, improved sleep quality, memory and ability to concentrate because it raises the level of gamma waves and above all a 50% decrease in the probability of depressive relapses .
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