Mental Health Blog

Languishing, flourishing, or depressed?

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

There is a psychological state that is between that is neither being flourished nor depressed. It isn’t burnout because you still have energy but you lose sense of purpose, feeling stagnant in life, joyless. Seemingly your life seems bleak and dull. It’s called languishing.

Languish is a term coined by sociologist Corey Key defined as people who are not depressed but also are not thriving/flourishing. In his research, he found that being in the state of languishing resulted in individuals being at a higher risk of major depression and anxiety disorders later on.

What flourishing and depression may look like:

– Setting goals in order to reach milestones in your life that are important to you
– You do things for yourself that you enjoy and enrich your life, and avoid wasting time on things (and people) that don’t bring you joy or value in your life
– Actively working on improving on your relationship with yourself – treating yourself like you would treat others
– Accepting yourself as you are, all of you, including flaws while continuously making the effort to grow and develop as a person for yourself and not anyone else
– You feel satisfied with life
– Feeling of hopelessness about life and believe that it will be stagnant and will not get better
– Losing interest in doing things you use to enjoy, holding on to people and things as a sense of control
– Chronically lacking energy, motivation, and feeling tired
– Feeling worthlessness and/or guilt, “being hard on yourself” 
– Difficulty concentrating in making decisions or recalling memories

In the table above, if you agree with some statements on the flourishing and depression side ask yourself:

  • What changes can I make to strive towards flourishing?
  • What are my values in life that will be my guiding point and how can I work towards them?
  • What habits do I need to unlearn?

We do not commonly notice signs of languishing, one’s outlook, purpose, goals in life slowly dwindles and it becomes hard to avoid the state and have it become more problematic on either end of the scale. 

* Languishing is not a disorder, it is just something we experience mentally of not feeling our best but have not reached the need for a formal mental health condition.*

Recognize and address. 

5 signs you’re flourishing

  1. Your open-mindedness to see situations from different perspectives and you feel ok with being misunderstood
  2. You are setting boundaries for your relationships and yourself while maintaining realistic expectations of yourself
  3. You make an effort to not take things personally and be present for the other person while maintaining your mental health because others may project their insecurities/triggers/frustration onto others
  4. You forgive yourself for mistakes you have made but keep yourself accountable to not repeat them
  5. Being consistent with working towards your goals while practicing self-compassion when giving yourself a break on your day off. 

Flourishing is part of positive psychology which contributes to well-being, purpose, self-esteem, virtue, and strong relationships. 

Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.