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Are you Languishing?

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

Are you feeling blah most of the time, like you are just passing through the day aimlessly without any plan or motivation to do anything?

For example, you plan to wake up at 6 am and keep hitting the snooze button or just laying around in bed playing games. You just feel like there is nothing to look forward to for the day. You can spend the whole day doing nothing productive and feeling guilty about it.

But... you know you are also not depressed, you also don't feel hopeless. You are not exhausted, you still have energy but somehow you just feel aimless and empty. You just are not motivated or interested to do anything. You also have problems concentrating on your work or any things you set to do. The next thing you know, you are on the couch watching movies or playing mobile games for hours.

If it sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. I personally experienced this especially during the lockdown and I thought something was wrong with me. I was not as motivated as I used to be and I felt guilty for being so unproductive.

Then I found out that there is a term for it. It is languishing. The term was first coined by a sociologist named Corey Keyes who was intrigued to find out why most people are not depressed but not thriving in life. The actual meaning of the term is "failing to make progress or be successful". In psychology, it describes low mental well-being in the absence of a diagnosable mental health condition, it is just the lack of positive emotions, somewhere in-between depression and flourishing.

But not to worry. There are ways that can help you get through this stage of emptiness and become more motivated.

1. Build new routines, do things fun:

Routine can be monotony and lack of enjoyment. When everything else seems not moving during this Pandemic, it is good for us to change up our routine and make it fun. Building a new positive and fun routine can bring us hope and happiness for a change in the future. This happiness can improve our brain function and bring enjoyment into our daily life.

For example, like me. I used to wake up at 7, make coffee and get straight to my laptop. I changed by waking up much earlier at 5:30, slowing down and taking my time to stretch, meditate, make my avocado juice (I love avocado by the way) and prepping for my lunch later instead of ordering foods from outside.

Think of your new routines and remember to have fun creating them.

2. Learn something new things:

It is not necessary for you to go to a class, you also can learn new things on online learning platforms or youtube, it can be something a new recipe, new skills or new knowledge. Learning new things gives us a sense of accomplishment, boosts our confidence and we will more ready to take on challenges and explore new opportunities.

3. Go outside and get grounded:

Grounding is important to balance our spiritual and physical energy. Taking a walk in nature helps you feel more connected to the earth, breath in some fresh air and focus on the present moment. You always feel better after a nice walk.

4. Connect with people:

Make effort to connect with your friends and family. A lack of social connection is surprisingly more harmful to our health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure. Having social connections can increase our levels of happiness, sense of belonging and purpose, reduce stress and anxiety. We don't need to physically meet people but being able to connect, talk and laugh make a lot of difference for our well-being.

5. Break down your goal into smaller and achieve-able tasks :

We often delay a task we want to do because it seems too much work, time and effort. What we can do is break our bigger goals into small tasks. When we tick off our list, the sense of accomplishment increases our dopamine and boost our motivation instantly and keep us going to achieve our next tasks and achieve our goals.

I hope those tips are useful for you. Let me know in the comment below if you have experienced a Languishing feeling and what you have done to overcome it!

Love and Gratitude,

Trinh Tran Chau

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