Adam Grant writes about ‘languishing’ in The New York Times

May 18, 2021

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing,” writes Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) faculty affiliate Adam Grant in The New York Times.

The article explores languishing, the “neglected middle child of mental health” that falls somewhere between depression and flourishing.

“Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021,” Grant writes.

“As scientists and physicians work to treat and cure the physical symptoms of long-haul Covid, many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic,” Grant writes. “It hit some of us unprepared as the intense fear and grief of last year faded.”

Languishing can dull motivation, disrupt focus, and increase the odds people who experience it will cut back on work. Grant writes that one way to combat a sense of languishing is to carve out time to pursue small, meaningful goals.

Grant is The Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management and a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.