Physology Health

Do we know how to live in solitude?

Living alone is not as easy as it seems. Dealing with constant loneliness can lead to discomfort or the feeling of not feeling worthy of company. To learn how to cope with this lifestyle Francie Healey, wellness advisor and nutritionist, publishes her new book Honjok, the art of living alone, a manual with recommendations

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EFE / Villar López

The current coronavirus pandemic has forced many for the first time to confront home confinement and experience what it means to live alone.

Although living alone, with its advantages and disadvantages, has become a true lifestyle trend, do we know how to live alone?

This is the question that the American author Francie Healey , a graduate in Sociology and Criminal Justice and counselor for well-being and nutrition, tries to solve in her new work Honjok, the art of living in solitude  (Dome Books, Planeta publishing house).

Honjok is a South Korean term for those who identify as loners . Nowadays, more and more people choose to live alone as a result of the isolation that technology and social networks represent.

Live in solitude
Francie Healey, Wellness and Nutrition Counselor, author of Honjok. The art of living alone / Photo courtesy of Planeta editorial

This book is a personal growth manual that tries to make the most of loneliness . Based on practical advice and strategies, the author helps the reader to make plans alone.

Healey invites you to consider the benefits of living alone through self-reflection. Living alone forces oneself to know our wants and needs while exploring loneliness, self-worth, and freedom from the inside out.

For this expert, this process is essential to achieve the necessary well-being “to establish our own limits and direct our lives in an authentic and meaningful way.”

Divided into four headings, Honjok, the art of living in solitude , deals with the following aspects:

  1. Tribes of One: Dedicated to Korean Honjoks
  2. A state of mind: to be alone or to feel alone?
  3. The art of awareness
  4. Acts of loneliness

Loneliness is a state of mind

One of the lessons in this manual is that being alone, comfortable or not, is a state of mind.

For some, loneliness is a very precious state and they enjoy their own company. Others, however, have serious problems tolerating loneliness and need others.

The difference is that while there are people who take it as an opportunity for reflection and rest, a part of the population considers that they are not enough and they fear the stillness that it entails.

Francie Healey believes that the key is to understand that  “being alone is a choice; loneliness, no ” .

Acknowledging the feeling of loneliness is the first step in alleviating the feeling of loneliness. The author indicates that once this has been achieved, the next step is to adopt measures that lead to small changes.

Interacting with others to gain confidence, connecting online with people who share your likes, volunteering or adopting a pet are just some of the expert’s recommendations.

Importance of healthy relationships

Mutual support is another essential component of wellness, but choosing the right people is important.

psychology, loneliness
Honjok cover. The art of living in solitude by Francie Healey / Courtesy image

Healey indicates that we can come to perceive great loneliness when our connections are a fake “because not all connections are the same . 

Some are support-based, enriching, and allow you to thrive. Others are destructive, stressful, and disappointing.

The fact that the latter cause anxiety and frustration is one of the reasons, he notes, that drives many people to adopt a honjok (tribes of one) lifestyle .

Finally, explain that being alone has nothing to do with being an introvert. “Introverts do not have a monopoly on the enjoyment of alone time, just as the enjoyment of company is not exclusive to extroverts . 

The sociologist clarifies that introverts can also enjoy with others, only that they tend to prefer small groups and more intimate connections.

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