You may not know what this word means if you are like I was. Let’s describe it, and then you can return to the initial question.
Are you feeling a lack of enthusiasm, determination, or lackadaisical? Or perhaps stagnant, joyless, or empty? This is languishing.
Corey Keys first founded this term in 2022. He says it is defined in contrast to flourishing. So, it is best to look at what flourishing means. To succeed, prosper in a flourishing business, or be in a state of activity or production. Languishing is living but not flourishing.
Languishing might start with having trouble concentrating or staying up later than usual. These seem simple things but can throw off an entire day of productivity if you let them continue. People justify this by saying, I have energy; I am not burnt out. It isn’t depression because I don’t feel hopeless. Overall, it is just somewhat joyless and aimless. It might feel like you are experiencing the same day over and over, or life is stale.
Many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic. It hit some people unprepared for the intense fear and grief that ensued.
So what is happening inside your body to bring languishing?
Part of your brain is called the amygdala. This is the brain’s threat detection system. It has been on high alert for fight or flight for the past few years.
When you think of mental health, you believe in spectrums. On the low end of the spectrum is depression, and on the high end is flourishing. Flourishing is when you have a strong sense of meaning, mastery, and purpose. Depression is when you feel despondent, drained, and hopeless. Languishing is in the middle of these two spectrums. It is simply the absence of well-being. You're simply not functioning at total capacity.
With languishing, you might not be able to see the dulling of delight or the slowing of your drive. You may not catch yourself slipping into solitude because you are indifferent to your indifference. Languishing is slow, gradual, and often unnoticeable.
In looking at the world’s collective discomfort, last spring, the most viral post in the history of the Harvard Business Review was an article describing our joint discomfort as grief. Part of our grief was due to mourning the loss of normalcy.
So what is the solution?
● Naming the emotion will help normalize the experience
● Recognize what area of your life is being impacted the most
● Identify what used to bring you joy, and start engaging in those activities again
● Listen to messages/podcasts that can help to shift your emotions
● Talk to a friend/professional to release those emotions
● Create a way forward for yourself, momentum=progress
● Acknowledge & validate how you are feeling – you have been through a lot since 2020
By acknowledging that so many of us are languishing, we can start giving voice to quiet despair and lighting a path out of the void.
Stratengy is here to help you navigate being a great leader in today’s world. Stratengy runs six-month programs on how to transform your team. We help you improve your collaborative teamwork. We incorporate the Disc Assessment and the Five Behaviors Assessment. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you and your team be more engaged, collaborative, and productive.