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The Expressions of Being Alone

Download the Expressions of Being Alone workbook for theory, research and exercises about the experiences of solitude and loneliness
By Counselling and Psychological Services

A sunset with mountains, trees and pink clouds Pexels: Stephen Seeber

This workbook was created by Concordia psychologists Dr. Jade-Isis Lefebvre and Debora Rabinovich. The contents are based on an online workshop developed during Covid-19 and our year of distance learning, where psychologists worked collaboratively with students to reflect on how humans cope with experiences of solitude, loneliness and isolation.

Introduction: Connection matters

Reading the title of our workbook and understanding that there are different expressions of being alone might surprise you! If you are new to the experience of solitude or struggling with loneliness, you are not alone in your journey.

Human connection is an evolutionary basic need. It is a classroom for self-exploration, creating meaning, and understanding our existential purpose. Social support is also linked to growth and resilience in the face of trauma or natural disasters (Saltzman et al., 2020). Often, in North America, being alone is not outwardly valued and may even be considered a source of stigma or shame. Anecdotal and scientific research demonstrate how hard loneliness is on physical, emotional, mental, and interpersonal health (ex: Lim, 2018; Peltzer & Pengpid, 2017). However, studies also show the benefits of taking alone time and how solitude can help with identity formation, connection to your authentic self, understanding your values, and practicing emotion regulation (Thuy-vy et al., 2019)

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