You may be “languishing”

Do you also have this experience? It seems that every once in a while, you are plagued by an indefinable emotion. Suddenly you are depressed and listless, as if you have been hollowed out. Doing anything is lack of interest, work efficiency becomes particularly low, and sometimes clearly did not do anything, but also can not lift the spirit, easy to feel tired.

Maybe after a while, the mood will slowly improve, but “it A: How are you?

A: How are you? B: Just a little unhappy, and nothing you want to do, right? ©howareyou_questionmark

A recent article in the New York Times by organizational psychologist Adam Grant suggests a term – “languishing ” to describe this feeling.

“It’s not exhaustion, we still have energy; it’s not depression, we don’t feel hopeless. We just feel a little bored with life and feel like we can’t see a direction. “

“Living a life of quiet desperation “.

languishing is such a feeling of stagnation and emptiness that it can make it difficult to concentrate and to feel excited “It feels like you’re muddling through your days, watching your life through a foggy windshield. “

On top of that, he said it could be a dominant emotion spreading among people in 2021.


The indefinable dull sullen mood you feel. 2. A state between depression and health and happiness – a loss of energy. 3. It causes your lack of motivation and concentration. And it could be the dominant emotion in 2021.

languishing, the neglected middle ground

In addition to languishing, this psychologist also pointed out another important word, the antonym of languishing “flourishing”, a prosperous and thriving state of mind, with positive emotions, hope for the future, and a feeling of being growing.


  1. the opposite of languishing.
  2. a feeling of passion, purpose and joy.
  3. At the peak of happiness: you have a strong sense of meaning, control, and believe you are important to others. In psychology, the measure of mental health ranges from depression (depression) to a flourishing state of health and happiness (flourishing).

Flourishing is at the peak of happiness, when people have a strong sense of meaning, of subjectivity, and feel important to others. Depression is at the bottom of mental ill-health, where people feel hopeless, depleted, and worthless.

languishing, on the other hand, is somewhere between depression and a vibrant state of prosperity, which is the often overlooked middle ground in mental health. “The absence of mental illness does not mean that the psyche is in a healthy state. Even without depression or exhaustion, you may be in torment. “

People in such a state, although free of symptoms of mental illness, are not all that healthy. languishing can keep a person’s body from functioning at full capacity, weaken motivation, disrupt concentration and potentially reduce productivity more than twofold.

Psychologists also point out the important point that this psychological state may be very common, “languishing seems to be more common than major depression, and in some ways it may be a greater risk factor for mental illness. It’s like a dull mental pain that, if left unattended, can trigger into more serious problems.

The concept of languishing was first introduced by sociologist Corey Keyes, who was alarmed by the number of people who did not have depression but also did not have a sense of thriving (thriving).

In his article “The Mental Health Continuum: From Languishing to Flourishing in Life,” published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, he studied U.S. adults aged 25-74 years adults, the results of the study showed that

17.2 percent met the criteria for flourishing

56.6 percent were in moderate mental health

12.1 percent of adults met criteria for languishing

And among adults who met criteria for languishing, the risk of acquiring major depressive disorder was twice that of adults in moderate mental health and nearly six times that of adults who met criteria for flourishing.

In addition, the study shows that the people most likely to experience major depression and anxiety in the next decade are not those who have these symptoms now, but those who are struggling with languishing in the present.

In other words, the severity of this mental state is likely to be overlooked.

Why do you feel languishing? Many people have said they feel resonant, even making languishing a buzzword for a while.

For months, I’ve been telling my closest friends, “I can’t really describe myself as depressed, the word seems too It seems too strong of a word, because I’m really doing okay. I just don’t care about anything anymore and everything seems meaningless, self-centered and superficial. “

“We really need to talk about languishing institutions. Schools, workplaces, communities, and families are not as robust as they have been in decades past. This has led, because of the focus on productivity, achievement and competition, to the neglect of meaning, connection, accomplishment and participation. For example, education has become less about self-exploration and the acquisition of truly meaningful knowledge than ever before because of the political, economic, and social forces that influence schools, teachers, and families …… “

So why do more and more people feel languishing?

The first is that the epidemic has added a lot of uncertainty to our lives. A number of studies have shown that the epidemic has had an impact on people’s mental health status, with anxiety and depression on the rise globally. Elke Van Hoof, a health psychologist, has said, “The epidemic is certainly a historic event for psychologists is undoubtedly the largest psychological experiment ever conducted. “In the past year, everyone has experienced, to a greater or lesser extent, a time when plans were disrupted. The sense of struggle and panic at the time may have subsided, but it may also be hidden in the mind, unknowingly evolving into a chronic state of exhaustion.

A sense of control over one’s life is critical for everyone. Psychologists have found that the more uncertainty there is in life, the more likely people are to worry about situations they may not be able to cope with. Epidemics also bring to light more directly issues such as health and life that would not be thought about heavily in normal times. If one has experienced great sadness or constant shock, one becomes less optimistic about the future and more likely to become listless.

Languishing is not only present in the minds of individuals, but also hidden in the environment we live in.

Nowadays, people seem to be more and more prone to feelings of exhaustion, invisible pressure and anxiety brought by involution, chicken children, etc. wrapped up in everyone. Psychologist Elissa Epel (Elissa Epel) has said that stress keeps our mind and nervous system alert, which will consume more energy. This is one of the reasons why chronic stress can make us feel exhausted.

Take work, for example. According to a Gallup Consulting survey, 85% of the world’s one billion full-time workers are unhappy at work. We spend two-thirds of our time at work, yet it is increasingly difficult to feel a sense of gain, accomplishment and value in our work, and we are increasingly unmotivated and unmotivated.

These stresses are subtle, they may not be intense and urgent, they may be low-level, but they can lead to fatigue and worse moods.

Many people have had “revenge bedtime procrastination “- sleepy at night, but also to stay up for a while, in order to recapture their missed time during the day. Yet this can also exacerbate the next day’s fatigue and reduce efficiency, which in turn leads to a vicious cycle.

In addition, the media is reshaping our perception of life as never before. Human memory and information processing capabilities are limited, but we are wrapped up in an overwhelming amount of ineffective and redundant information every day, far more than we can handle. This means that the time and emotional cost of communicating on social media is increasing, and when too much bad news is viewed, it can be equally mentally stressful.

Perhaps it’s time to rethink and reassess the state of people’s mental health.

What can be done to get out of such a rut?

  1. Give yourself some uninterrupted time.

Set clear boundaries for work and life. Setting aside an uninterrupted period of time each day to dedicate to something you love will give us the freedom to focus and find solace in the things that appeal to us.

  1. Savor and celebrate the little things.

It’s not just the important things that are worth remembering. Research shows that those small moments are also important for happiness. Psychologists call this “savor (savor), which means appreciating the moment, sharing small victories, and noticing the good things around you.

In a 2012 study of college students, students were asked to take at least five photos of their daily lives – friends, favorite campus scenes, favorite books – twice a week. …… Through the photos, they would be reminded of the small moments that brought them small moments of joy and focus on the good things in life.

  1. Focus on a small goal.

If everything in life is not yet clear, you may want to find some small goals for yourself in your daily routine.

Research has found that flourishing states often come from daily routines, such as learning new skills or feeling meaningful small moments.

If you feel frustrated, undertake a small project, which could be as simple as cleaning the kitchen or organizing your room, or jogging, or just trying a minute of meditation. Completing a simple task with immediate feedback can help us build a sense of accomplishment and gain.

  1. Try to express your gratitude.

Create a weekly gratitude ritual, listing the things that made you feel grateful or touched in the past week. In a 2003 study, researchers instructed college students to do a weekly “list of five things they are grateful for “, no matter how big or small. These students felt better about their lives overall and complained less than the control group.

  1. Do some good deeds.

Acts of kindness not only help others, they also help you grow. Research shows that doing five acts of kindness in a day, once a week, even if they are very small, can have a powerful effect. Volunteer work can also improve happiness.

It can start with a daily “5 minutes of help It might be as simple as introducing two people who could benefit from knowing each other, or sharing an article or podcast with a friend.

  1. Try something new.

Dr. Case, who developed the concept of languishing, says, “The most important thing for overall mental health is an interest in life Being interested; a sense of satisfaction or happiness often follows. The first key to feeling good about life is to seek out new interests. “

Tasting or making a new food, joining a book group, learning a new skill can both add something new to life and help us use our free time more wisely.

  1. Find community and connection.

Talking to friends and expressing what’s bothering you may resonate. A meaningful conversation may resolve some confusion. Or it doesn’t have to be a lasting relationship or a long interaction, a short conversation can bring energy and vitality.

  1. Get out in nature.

A walk in nature is good for people’s mental health. Research conducted by the British Mental Health Foundation found that 62 percent of British adults found that walking relieved stress during the epidemic. Nearly half of those surveyed said that passing time in nature helped them cope with rising anxiety related to the pandemic.

Even if the distance walked is not particularly far and the number of walks is small, getting outside has a positive impact on people’s mental health.

Finally, people can’t always be energetic, and being happy or down is part of life. It’s okay to feel tired and weak once in a while, so why not just let yourself lie flat for a while.

After all, not everything is so urgent.