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Mental Health Moment: May 2021

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Putting Words to our Experiences: Languishing

Jenn Johnson, LMSW

Jenn Johnson, LMSW

Over the past year, it may seem like you have heard a lot more “meh” “blah” or “fine” responses to the simple question of “how are you?” Maybe you’ve noticed yourself struggling to find motivation, having difficulty concentrating, or turning to TV and social media more than you’d prefer. All of these experiences have felt pretty typical given the unprecedented changes that 2020 and 2021 have brought us. However, any change to our mental health and wellbeing can feel unsettling, particularly when it’s unfamiliar or even hard to put words to.

The New York Times released an article at the end of April that invited us to consider a term that may help describe what so many of us have been feeling. That word is “languishing” and they define it as “the void between depression and flourishing-the absence of well-being.” Psychologist Adam Grant goes on to describe the impact of languishing, stating “You’re not functioning at full capacity. Languishing dulls your emotion, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work.”

While languishing is not a mental health diagnosis, it still can help to normalize and validate an experience that so many of us may be able to relate to. As with all mental health conditions, there is a lot of power in simply putting words to our experiences and knowing that they are not unique to us. If you have found yourself languishing in the past year, know that you are not alone and consider talking to others about what you’re experiencing. Whether with a counselor, in a support group, or with co-workers, friends, or family, talking about our mental health is a powerful step toward well-being.

To read the article in full, click here.

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