Woman on phone languishing before counseling with Empower Counseling

Languishing: What Empower Counseling can do to help.

Some experts say that “languishing” is the dominant emotion of 2021. Languishing is the result of the long pandemic.

Languishing is considered that middle ground between thriving-the peak of mental wellbeing- and depression or hopelessness. Languishing is feeling joyless, aimless, and empty. Languishing is feeling stagnant- not falling deep into a hole but not moving forward either. 

Languishing is what many are left with after a year of fear and loss. 

Now, even though languishing is not as far on mental health spectrum from thriving as depression or anxiety is, it is not where you want to stay either. 

Staying in a state of languish, not feeling any sense of direction or mastery, will often lead to anxiety or depression. When we quit doing the things that bring us joy and purpose, it isn’t  long before depression follows. 

According to an article in the New York Times by Adam Grant, “Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work. It appears to be more common than major depression — and in some ways it may be a bigger risk factor for mental illness.

Grant states, “The term was coined by a sociologist named Corey Keyes, who was struck that many people who weren’t depressed also weren’t thriving. His research suggests that the people most likely to experience major depression and anxiety disorders in the next decade aren’t the ones with those symptoms today. They’re the people who are languishing right now.”

We only have to look to pandemic health care workers from Italy to see the evidence of this. Those health care workers who were languishing in the spring of 2020, were 3 times more likely than others they worked with to be diagnosed with PTSD.

Languishing is a slow burn that one day all of a sudden catches up with you. Languishing leaves you vulnerable to that next big stressor sending you over the edge toward depression.

So what can you do if you are languishing?

1. Make a List of all of the things you used to enjoy before the pandemic hit. 

Now whether you feel like doing them or not, just go do them. Your brain will tell you that you do not feel like it and you should wait until you do feel like it. Don’t listen to it. Get out and take action.

2.   Get physical.

Move your body. Exercise. The endorphins released Dustin exercise will boost your mood. Once again, your brain will tell you that you do not have the energy to do this. Do not listen.

3.  Languishing: Make an appointment to see how Empower Counseling can help.

The type of therapy we practice at Empower Counseling, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, is an excellent tool to find what lights you up inside, what brings your purpose. Finding purpose boosts motivation and excitement for life. To address lingering languishing, make an appointment at Empower Counseling. Kathryn will guide you through your 8 domains and determine what is getting in your way of enjoyment, what is most important to you, and what actions you need to take to begin thriving, instead of languishing.

Empower Counseling is a Birmingham area counseling clinic serving Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia, Hoover and many other areas. Empower offers both in-person counseling and online counseling for anxiety, depression and difficult life transitions. Using Acceptance Commitment therapy, Kathryn helps teens, college students, young adults and professionals move away from mental ill-being and closer to thriving.

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