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  • Dr Maike Neuhaus

How languishing impacts your health and wellbeing

Languishing is a term that was coined by Professor Corey M. Keyes to describe a state of being stuck in a prolonged and severe form of malaise. It is a condition that is characterized by a lack of motivation, low energy, and a general feeling of hopelessness and despair.


While it is often confused with depression, it is actually a distinct condition that can have serious consequences for your overall health and wellbeing.

Woman suffering detrimental health impacts of languishing

There are several factors that can contribute to feelings of languishing, including a lack of purpose or meaning in life, a lack of social connections, and chronic stress or adversity. It is a condition that is often overlooked or dismissed, but it can have serious consequences for both your physical and mental health.


One of the most significant impacts of languishing is on your mental health.


When you are in a state of languishing, you may feel unmotivated, disconnected, and hopeless. These feelings can lead to a decline in your overall mental health, including an increased risk of depression and anxiety.


Languishing can also have a significant impact on your physical health. When you are feeling low and disconnected, you may be less likely to take care of your physical health, including engaging in physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and seeking medical care when needed. This can lead to a decline in your physical health, including an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.


There are also social consequences of languishing.


When you are feeling disconnected and unmotivated, you may be less likely to engage with others and form meaningful social connections. This can lead to a sense of isolation and loneliness, which can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health.


So, how can you overcome feelings of languishing and improve your health and wellbeing?


Here are some strategies that may be helpful:


1. Seek professional help

If you are struggling with feelings of languishing, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. A therapist can help you explore the root causes of your feelings and develop strategies to improve your mental health.


2. Find purpose and meaning

One of the key factors that can contribute to feelings of languishing is a lack of purpose or meaning in life. Try to identify activities or causes that give your life meaning and purpose, and make an effort to engage in these activities regularly.


3. Build social connections

Strong social connections are essential for good mental and physical health. Make an effort to engage with others, form new friendships, and participate in social activities.


4. Engage in physical activity

Regular physical activity can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. Try to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, whether it’s going for a walk, joining a gym, or participating in a sports team.


5. Practice self-care

It is important to prioritize self-care when you are feeling low. This can include activities such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and practising relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing.


Languishing is a condition that is often overlooked, but it can have serious consequences for your overall health and wellbeing.


If you are struggling with feelings of malaise and disconnection, it is important to seek help and take steps to improve your mental and physical health. By seeking professional help, finding purpose and meaning, building social connections, engaging in physical activity, and practising self-care, you can overcome feelings of languishing and improve your overall health and wellbeing.

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