I’M NOT QUITE MYSELF THESE DAYS
I’m getting work done but I don’t feel like I’m making progress. I’m scattered, less focused than usual. My goals, the ones I set months ago, either feel REALLY big right now or not as interesting as once thought. Staying upbeat and positive is taking more work and just yesterday I wrote in my journal that I feel empty. What’s up with that?
A high achieving client shared a similar experience with me. She’s managing her work load but finding less joy than usual there. She’s exercising, eating pretty well, but spending way too much time binge watching Netflix. She’s also noticed that she is becoming more of a loner than she would like, but isn’t really motivated to do anything about it. What’s going on? she wanted to know.
We are languishing, that’s what.
SIGNS YOU ARE LANGUISHING
- You are having difficult to making decisions
- You feel flat, numb, or lack joy
- You feel stuck and can’t seem to make progress
- You are not doing your best work
- You feel lost and can’t see the way forward
- You are isolating even though you’re sick of isolation
- You are one step up from depression
- You don’t know where you belong anymore
STUCK IN LANGUISHING
According to the New York Times article by organizational psychologist, Adam Grant, There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling, languishing may be the dominant emotion of 2021.
Languishing is a middle-of-the-road emotion that happens in the space between depression and flourishing, which admittedly is a pretty big space. As a feeling, languishing is like the color beige, or the flavor vanilla, or the lifeless response, I’m fine.
The languishing YOU is just kind of there.
Which isn’t horrible or criminal, but it is a loss for those people in your life who love your authentic contribution, your engaged presence, or your vibrant energy—the flourishing YOU.
This is important, says the father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, in his book, Flourish, because the mood you are in determines more than 70 % of how much life satisfaction you report and how well you judge your life to be going at that moment determines less than 30 %.
Did you catch that? You are more likely to use your feelings as a gauge rather than your circumstances when thinking about the state of your life. Which means that if you are languishing, you’re probably overlooking your worth, undervaluing your work, and missing out on the fullness that life has to offer right here and now.
THE FLOURISHING YOU
Flourishing has been defined as the combination of positive emotion, engagement, meaning, and purpose. So here are four actions you can take right now, one for each of these core components, to combat languishing and cultivate flourishing.
When something good happens in your life: you receive a compliment or a word of thanks, you achieve a goal, or you hear a child laugh out loud, savor the moment. By taking just 10 seconds to marinate in that positive experience, you will move the needle on your negativity bias up a few notches.
When feeling disengaged, consider your expectations. Do you expect work to be mundane or boring? Are you anticipating the same ole thing day after day? If what you seek, you will find, then start anticipating interest and engagement. Ask God to surprise you. Expect a blessing today.
Meaning is the degree to which your life has purpose, value, and impact. Any task can have meaning if you dig below the surface and mine it for meaning. Ask yourself these three questions when a wave of languishing washes over you.
Purposeful people are always asking Why. Why do I want to be VP? Why am I spending so much time on this project. Why am I here? Purposeful questions lead to purposeful answers and a sense that what you are doing matters. And if you find that what you are doing doesn’t matter, make a change. There is no better time than right now to be the person you’ve always dreamed of being.
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In your corner,