Languishing, in a psychological context, describes a lack of mental health. Psychologist Corey Keyes first introduced the concept of languishing in 2002. In an effort to create a more nuanced understanding of mental health besides “good” or “bad.”
Languishing typically marks a decline in your mental health, though you can still function in your day-to-day life. Maybe you’re not going through a major mental health crisis or experiencing overwhelming distress, but your life may not involve much happiness or fulfillment either.
A state of languishing can leave you with a neutral or flat mindset, one where you have few strong emotions. Instead of feeling sadness, joy, anger, or enthusiasm, you simply remain in a state of “meh.”
Languishing isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis with specific criteria. Rather, you can think of languishing as the absence of emotional, psychological, or social well-being. Languishing may not directly translate to depression or any other psychiatric diagnosis, but it can still affect your emotional health and well-being.
Languishing can affect all aspects of your life, from your romantic relationships to your career path. As such, it rarely has one specific cause.
Like depression, languishing can lead to emotional numbness and listlessness. It can sap your motivation and prompt you to isolate yourself and avoid your loved ones.
Neither state does much good for your mood. But depression tends to affect your emotions more severely. While languishing can dampen your joy, engaging in fun hobbies can usually boost your mood. To contrast, many people with depression have trouble feeling happiness in any context.
To promote flourishing, you may want to check out research-supported interventions like well-being therapy, life-review therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy or positive psychological interventions.
Source: Science Daily