Get my new weekly sketch in your inbox

Join over 30,000 people learning something new in a moment each Sunday.

Languishing illustration: an unmotivated, apathetic figure sits slumped in an armchair with a TV remote in hand, clearly fed up and demoralised - for the time being at least.


Meh. Blah. Can't be bothered? Not excited about the future? Perhaps you're languishing.

Adam Grant's NYT article, There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing, resonated with so many people as the coronavirus pandemic drew on. While not having a mental illness or being clinically depressed, many of us associated with a general stagnation or apathy towards things — an absence of, or poor, mental health. Languishing is a counterpoint to how we might feel in prime mental health, full of wellbeing or Flourishing.

While languishing may not be necessarily dangerous in itself, if you're languishing you may be at higher risk of mental illness.

Some steps Adam suggests we can take:

  1. Naming our state can be a first step to doing something about it
  2. Looking for small wins that show us progress
  3. Asking how our friends and family are doing — having the opportunity to speak to someone about it

You also might consider working on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, getting in some forest bathing, walking a labyrinth, aiming for some flow, noticing when you're happy, or seeing what might bring you hope.

The term languishing for that part of the mental health continuum is from Corey Keyes. See for example, Corey L. M. Keyes. “The Mental Health Continuum: From Languishing to Flourishing in Life.Journal of Health and Social Behavior, vol. 43, no. 2, 2002, pp. 207–222.

Armchair and inspiration, as usual, from Bill Watterson.

Order a print

You’re welcome to use and share this image and text for non-commercial purposes with attribution. Go wild!
See licence

Buy Me A Coffee