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Being Alone but Not Lonely

Written by QCMHA member, Avina Patel

This past year my sense of isolation has heightened. When I think of isolation, I think of loneliness, and solitude - two terms that are often looked at from one lens. They seem similar, but I recently learned how different they actually are and wanted to share what I learned with you.

Described as a deficiency state, loneliness is negative - it is harsh, uncomfortable and draining. Have you ever felt lonely in a crowded room? Solitude on the other hand, is a positive state - something you choose. It allows us to be alone without being lonely. So how can we find, enjoy, and use solitude to our advantage?

Think of solitude as an opportunity replenish and engage with yourself. Spending time alone can often me looked down upon - its a tough sell. The truth this, we all need periods of solitude, and it’s something we create. Think of it as a refresher - a chance to reopen yourself to challenges. Something interesting that I came to realize, is that solitude gives us the chance to regain perspective.

Reading, spending time in nature, writing, meditating, walking, and eating by yourself are a few examples of things you can do alone. It seems very simple, and it is, but solitude increases our creativity, productivity, and improves psychological well-being. “If you think you don’t have the time to sit quietly and think, you probably need alone time more than ever.”

Take a break from the busy schedule and practice solitude. Think about it, the more you get to know yourself, the more equipped you are to be authentic and you, when others are around.

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