Issue 32 / Understanding The Difference Between Loneliness vs. Aloneness

Understanding The Difference Between Loneliness vs. Aloneness

Jan 15, 2016

Did you know there's a difference between loneliness and being alone? And there's a way to combat the first to ensure you embrace the latter for your wellbeing. 

Have you ever felt an intense sense of loneliness and despair? That feeling that no one really understands you and you're all alone in this world? The feeling of loneliness can be intensely sad, depressing and overwhelming when it hits you.

According to the 2012 Statistics Canada report, about 20 per cent of older people ("older as in 40+ years of age) in this country report feeling lonely. When we start looking at other age groups, in a study of 34,000 Canadian university students, almost two-thirds reported feeling “very lonely” in the past 12 months.

As published in The Globe and Mail, research indicates that in the United States, approximately 40 per cent of people describe themselves to be lonely, a figure that has doubled in the last 30 years. In the U.K, Campaign To End Loneliness was launched a couple of years ago to shed light into the isolation that the senior community may face. 

Are you lonely or alone?
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Also, according to a new study in the journal Perspectives On Psychological Science, the subjective feeling of loneliness increases risk of death by 26 per cent. Social isolation — or lacking social connection — and living alone were found to be even more devastating to a person’s health than feeling lonely, respectively increasing mortality risk by 29 per cent and 32 per cent.  
In today’s world, where social media tends to cover up the inner loneliness people feel, there are more people than we realize suffering through the feelings loneliness. Many are unaware of what “loneliness” truly is and how to deal with such an intense and negative feeling. It is first important to understand the difference between loneliness and aloneness, both of which are states that can be experienced whether you are in a relationship or not or whether you are by yourself or in place full of people. According to Psychology Today, loneliness isn’t about feeling alone, it is about not feeling connected.

Loneliness is a feeling of lack. It is a painful experience that can leave you feeling that something is missing in your life and you feel incomplete. Aloneness, on the other hand, is a feeling of presence and self-awareness. It is a more positive attitude of one’s self and you feel connected to life whether you are actually by yourself or with others. You feel complete in aloneness and you feel joyous in that state.

So what do you do when you want to go from feeling predominantly lonely to a more healthy sense of aloneness and connectedness to life? Take heed to some of the following ideas to get yourself out of a state of loneliness and to a more healthy state of completeness, joy, happiness and connectedness.

1. Embrace Solitude

Cultivate the bliss that comes with true aloneness by experiencing life on your own as opposed to with someone. So if you are single, try to go to the movies on your own or to an event that you have always wanted to attend but could never find anyone who could make their calendar work. Going solo to events is worth experiencing and you will notice bliss in not relying on others to enjoy life. Embracing solitude will also build courage that you can handle life on your own if ever you had to. This better prepares you for future healthier relationships as you will not come from a place of lack but a place of fullness and completeness.

Embrace your solitude.
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2. Integrate Meditation

Go deep inside and start observing your thoughts without judgement. This is truly the benefit of meditation and what helps you meditate can come in all forms. You can attend a yoga class, mindfulness training or simply sit and enjoy a relaxing activity on your own. Taking a bath works for many people and in other cases, organizing and cleaning can be a meditative exercise as well. In all of these scenarios, observe your thoughts and experience them without judgement.

3. Accept Others

I have written about this in the past. Many times we feel disconnected because we are judging others more harshly than we need to which creates distance between oneself and others. The feeling of not being understood and the world is against you has less to do with others and more to do with how you perceive the actions of others. Getting offended that someone didn’t call or didn’t say hello can perpetuate loneliness so it’s best to keep your ego in check and lessen the judegment of others to open doors for meaningful connection.

4. Connect Meaningfully with Others

I recommend reaching out to close friends and family members to either begin or continue your meaningful connections with them. That’s what your close network of friends and family are for, so you don’t feel lonely. Also connecting with them in a meaningful way deepens the relationship as you ride the contrasting journey of life.

Always be kind.
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5. Demonstrate Kindness

Lori Deschenes, founder and author of Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges shares acts of kindness for you to consider every day. This truly will expand your spiritual journey and filling of your spirit. Acts of kindness are known to not only positively affect the receiver but also the giver and those around that witness an act of kindness. For many reasons, do something or say something kind to someone and reap the benefits of a kinder world.

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Yvonne Sinniah


Yvonne Sinniah (@YvonneSinniah) is a Relations Advisor and inspirational speaker focusing on helping individuals achieve success in personal and professional environments.  focusing on helping individuals achieve success in personal and professional environments.  She is on a mission to meet a nee...


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