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Solitude vs. Loneliness

What is the difference between being lonely and being alone? To begin, being alone is a state of being while loneliness is a state of mind.

At the present time as people are dealing with the changes COVID-19 has socially distant and many fear the future and how we will interact again, understanding the difference between being lonely and being alone is important.

What does being alone mean?

As mentioned before being alone is a state of being, under certain circumstances being alone can be a choice. Many are comfortable being alone, others use the state of being alone as a much needed break from societal pressures, and others are alone to reflect and think. According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary it defines “alone” as:

  • Without anyone or anything else
  • Not involving or including anyone or anything else
  • Separate from other people or things
  • Without people that you know or that usually are with you
  • Feeling unhappy because of being separated from other people.

In other words, being alone is important because being alone can help you build mental strength. With this in mind, solitude is a state of isolation, lack of contact with other people. Oftentimes solitude can come as a consequence of:

  • Bad relationships
  • Loss of loved ones
  • A deliberate choice
  • Infectious disease
  • Mental disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Situational circumstances.

What is loneliness?

In contrast to being alone, feeling lonely can feel like abandonment, sadness, or isolation. Loneliness in contrast is different for everyone and has the potential to be damaging to the mind. In effect, loneliness can feel empty, alone, and unwanted. Some even describe it as isolation. The real problem with loneliness is the effects it can have on the state of mind. There are a lot of health risks that can be associated with loneliness:

  • Alcoholism
  • Drug use
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Depression and suicide
  • Increased stress levels
  • Decreased memory and learning
  • Poor decision- making
  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke

How can you fight loneliness?

To begin with some research suggests that people who live alone, have small social networks, physical health symptoms, and low-quality social relationships are at a higher risk. Some research also suggest that loneliness has increased and it may be due to things like the internet and social media. Try these suggestions to beat loneliness:

  • Understand the effects of loneliness on your life
  • Recognize that loneliness is a sign of needing a change to your life
  • Develop quality relationships, quality is better than quantity.
  • Try to join activities such as, community service. Activities that give you the opportunity to meet new people and encourage social interactions.

Ultimately, if you are not dealing well with feelings of loneliness and are in need of talking to someone, go ahead and give us a call. Embracia.

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  1. I agree that health risks can be associated with mental illness and improper coping mechanisms. I have a son that is an alcoholic and I’m worried it is going to lead to a run-in with the law. I’ll have to make sure he gets the help he needs with a psych professional so that he doesn’t end up in court.

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