The absence of well-being

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing
The neglected middle child of mental health can dull your motivation and focus — and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021.

This isn’t really a word I had understood before, but Adam explains it well. If you imagine your mental health on a spectrum with depression at one end and flourishing at the other, languishing is in the middle.

Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. You’re not functioning at full capacity. 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.

This perfectly describes how I’m feeling right now, and explains many of the difficulties I’ve been experiencing, particularly in the last few weeks.

The good news is that if, like me, you feel like you’re languishing, there is some positive action you can take to improve the situation.

A concept called “flow” may be an antidote to languishing. Flow is that elusive state of absorption in a meaningful challenge or a momentary bond, where your sense of time, place and self melts away.

As both a programmer and a musician, I know this feeling well. It’s that sense of being totally focused on something, such that the world around you disappears.

So that’s the positive step I’m going to take: find more time to flow. Hopefully, it will help to move my mental health in the right direction.

Peter Bryant

Peter Bryant

York, UK