Description: Perhaps you have had enough of trying to summarize how you are feeling and doing “these days” as the pandemic rumbles along and has not vanished at the sight of the first few raised vaccination needles. There have been many, many attempts to explain what we, or may be, experiencing: it is a problem with great amounts of uncertainty, it is creeping depression, it is grief over our (hopefully temporality) lost social lives, etc. etc. So, do we need another possible explanation? Well, maybe. When our emotions are novel, uncertain, and we are unsure how or why we are out of sorts it can help to try and mane how it is we are feeling as that can help us focus on our emotions and start to figure out what is going on and how to get moving again more positively. The spate of “we are grieving” articles a few months back helped many people to understand what and how they were feeling in the novel circumstances of the pandemic. We know loss and can use that understanding template to help us sort out our current emotional and social realties. So, how are you doing now? Try the word/concept languishing on for size. When have you languished before? Maybe you were stuck in an airport (remember those?) due to weather elated flight cancellations and you were sitting and languishing in your circumstances. How about these days with ongoing, and intensifying restrictions (here in Canada and elsewhere)? Might the languishing label help sort this a bit? Not sure what the concept involves? Well, have a read through the article linked below in which an organizational psychologist looks at research relating to languishing. It cannot hurt, what else do you have to do?
Source: There is a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing, Adman Grant The New York Times.
Date: April 19, 2021
I link the way that languishing is situated conceptually between depression and flow. Often, we are stuck with categorical labels which suggest that things are either wonderfully bright (flow) or horribly dark (depression). We need concepts in between and perhaps languish fit the bill at least in part. The dulling of delight and the dwindling of drive, (oh and “revenge bedtime procrastination”)– languishing. A useful concept, especially when it comes with not just relaxation but with suggestions for rediscovering how to engage again – to act. Uninterrupted time, small goals, naming languishing – give them a try!
Questions for Discussion:
- What is languish or languishing?
- How is languishing different than being depressed or being in flow?
- Beyond short term improvement in wellbeing and functioning what might thinking and talking about languishing do for us all these days?
References (Read Further):
Keyes, C. L. (2002). The mental health continuum: From languishing to flourishing in life. Journal of health and social behavior, 207-222. Link
Iasiello, M., van Agteren, J., Keyes, C. L., & Cochrane, E. M. (2019). Positive mental health as a predictor of recovery from mental illness. Journal of affective disorders, 251, 227-230. Link
Keyes, C. L., Dhingra, S. S., & Simoes, E. J. (2010). Change in level of positive mental health as a predictor of future risk of mental illness. American journal of public health, 100(12), 2366-2371. Link
Bassi, M., Negri, L., Delle Fave, A., & Accardi, R. (2021). The relationship between post-traumatic stress and positive mental health symptoms among health workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Lombardy, Italy. Journal of affective disorders, 280, 1-6. Link
Feldman Barrett, Lisa (2018) Try these two smart techniques to help you master your emotions. Ideas.Ted.Com Link
Liang, Lu-Hai (2020) The Psychology Behind ‘Revenge Bedtime Procrastination’ BBC Link
Quinn, R. W. (2005). Flow in knowledge work: High performance experience in the design of national security technology. Administrative science quarterly, 50(4), 610-641. Link
Perlow, L. A. (1999). The time famine: Toward a sociology of work time. Administrative science quarterly, 44(1), 57-81. Link
Weick, K. E. (1984). Small wins: Redefining the scale of social problems. American Psychologist, 39(1), 40. Link