Keep on Flourishing: Habits to Overcome Languishing


Languishing is an emerging buzzword in the digital space. And it’s dubbed as the feeling that most people are feeling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Languishing is defined by psychologist Corey Keyes as feeling empty and stuck. It’s easy to see why people feel this way during a global pandemic. It brought many changes in people’s daily routines. The pandemic also resulted in various restrictions in the outside world. Many things that people used to enjoy without worries in the past are no longer easily accessible.

The Danger of Languishing

Languishing is a risk for mental illness. Things can get more difficult if you don’t do anything to improve the way you feel about yourself and about life. If it gets worse and develops into anxiety or depression, you may have to go through more serious methods to feel better. For example, you might need to take antidepressants, go through ketamine treatment, or seek therapy.

Thus, as early as now, you need to develop positive habits to overcome languishing and reach the other side of the spectrum: flourishing. Here are some tips you can try:

Keep a Journal

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to improve your mood is by keeping a journal. You can go digital or analog. The medium will depend on what you’re more comfortable with. Although, it can’t be denied that the act of writing down thoughts using pen and paper does have a rewarding feeling.

You can use your journal as a brain dump to write whatever you want. For example, if you felt lethargic the entire day, write about it. You can also write good things that happened to you every day, no matter how small those things are.

Journaling will help you process your thoughts and feelings. Writing down negative feelings will help you accept how you feel and start the process of moving on from them. Writing down positive feelings will help you see yourself in a better light. The journal will also help you identify your triggers so that you can better control them moving forward.

Commune with Nature

Being close to nature can help alleviate what you’re feeling. Studies have shown a link between exposure to nature and better mental health. For example, one study found that active interaction with indoor plants resulted in reduced stress and increased feeling of comfort. Nature can also improve one’s mood.

Given these benefits, consider taking care of at least one houseplant. Or if you already have plants at home, interact with them for a few minutes. You can water them or even talk to your plants.

Pick up a New Hobby

reading a book

Even if you find yourself being disinterested in anything, try finding a new hobby. Look at something simple, such as reading a book. Or, if you have a lot of time to spare each day, consider learning something new, such as an instrument or a new language.

Your new hobby will keep you occupied and entertained so that you don’t feel empty or stuck. Your hobby can also give you a sense of accomplishment. For example, let’s say you chose to learn how to play guitar. Memorizing all the basic chords is already a small win that can lift your spirits.

Your hobby might even become a gateway for you to meet new people with whom you can share conversations about your similar interests.

Do a Social Media Detox

Sometimes, social media can contribute to languishing. Even if you don’t want to, you might start comparing yourself with your friends and other people you see on your social media feeds. And doing this can take a huge hit on your self-esteem.

Also, the infinite scrolling feature of social media apps encourages you to scroll mindlessly for hours on end. This may result in sleep deprivation, which can further affect your mental well-being.

As such, you should take a break from social media for a few weeks or even a month. You don’t have to deactivate your accounts if you don’t want to. You can simply uninstall the social media apps from your phone. Block the social media sites from your browser as well. This way, you won’t get tempted to go on social media when you’re on your computer or laptop.

It’s okay to have negative feelings, especially during a pandemic that is unprecedented in modern society. But you shouldn’t dwell on these feelings. Instead, you need to actively do your best to overcome the negativity. Add positive habits to your life to cross the road from languishing to flourishing.

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