Saturday 9 July 2022

Alone But Not Lonely ~ It is important to make the distinction between being alone and being lonely. According to Clinical Psychologist Dr. Martha Carmody, a primary distinction between being alone and being lonely, is that when we are “lonely” we have a sense of longing.



Many of us find there are times in our lives when we are alone. Perhaps we are

living alone as a young adult in our first apartment, or newly single after a divorce or loss of a partner. Unfortunately, the society we live in does not value the concept of alone. We are often made to feel as though aloneness is sad, depressing or even socially unacceptable. 

If we have not grasped and accepted being alone with just “our self”, being alone can make the space around us seem large or empty. When this happens we tend to “fill the void” with television, computer time or background noise. If those methods are not satisfying, we may engage in unhealthy behaviors such as compulsive eating or drinking -whatever it takes to fill the emptiness.

It is important to make the distinction between being alone and being lonely. According to Clinical Psychologist Dr. Martha Carmody, a primary distinction between being alone and being lonely, is that when we are “lonely” we have a sense of longing. 

Positive Concepts

This longing can come from feeling unsupported, misunderstood or unacknowledged. While these feelings can present themselves as a result of being alone, they also often present themselves as a result of being with someone! When this happens we can become truly lonely, sad, forlorn or miserable. We may long to be with someone who understands and values us as an essential being. When we find ourselves lonely while in an existing relationship, being alone can actually be a relief.

In either situation, it is vital to understand and value alone time. Paradoxically, being alone gives us the opportunity to commune with our self. Most of us have not taken the time to become acquainted with our inner self - our essence.  Having time to yourself to get to know your “inner-you” can help move perception of “alone” to more positive concepts such as “solitude”, “serenity”, “quietude” or “inner peace”.  

Cultivating Alone Time

Valuing alone time can take some practice, especially if this is a new experience for you. Here are some tips to help you get started. If you find being alone to be uncomfortable or overwhelming, remember to take baby steps. It is important that this time elicit feelings of ease and well being.

Get to Know Yourself

Contemplate your values and core beliefs. What brings you happiness? As you identify these things, try to focus on you as an individual and not actions that depend on another person. Can you recreate that sensation of joy as you contemplate these things?

Acknowledge the Beauty in Nature

If it is possible, experience the out of doors. Don't just be there with your ear buds or cell phone. Take a few moments to notice - feel the air brushing along your skin, feel the warmth of the sun and become aware of the vibrant color. Simply pay attention.

Indulge Your Senses

Create an environment that nurtures your senses.  A warm soak in a tub, soothing music, candles, flowers, quiet time reading, knitting or playing music are a few examples. Everyone is different. What is your special alone time treat?


Of course this sounds obvious. But more often than not we allow busyness and activity to take over our thoughts, actions and atmosphere. Connecting to your breath, even if only for a few moments throughout the day, can help calm your brain and your body to illicit feelings of inner peace. Simply notice your breath. Feel your belly rise and fall. Relax your jaw and allow air to flow in and out comfortably and freely. Imagine that each inhale scrubs out stale thoughts and agitations. Each exhale clears your body and mind of these unhelpful distractions. Taking a few moments of alone time to connect to your breath facilitates calm, mental clarity and a sense of well being.


These are only a few suggestions to help reframe the concept of  “alone” from one that connotes “lonely”, to one that represents harmony, comfort and contentment. Healthy alone time will help create a mini-retreat and allow you to relish the time you have to spend with your most fundamental resource – your self.




Dr. Mary Jayne Rogers is an Exercise Physiologist specializing in whole-person wellness and fitness education and instruction. As an educator, Mary Jayne brings multi-dimensional wellness and fitness experiences along with a welcoming and genuine teaching style to inspire students and wellness enthusiasts of all ages.  Dr. Rogers is the owner of Profound Wellness LLC.

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