How are you feeling today? 

Who admits to languishing? A recent article in the New York Times, by Alan Grant, referred to a state of mind called ‘languishing’. I absolutely love this term, it’s just so descriptive and feels so right. 

Adam explained it as the ‘blah’ that so many of us feeling from the past year. I prefer to refer to it as ‘meh’ and yes at times I’ve felt it too, as we are all faced with the challenges of the ongoing situations. 

How about YOU?

There are such variations in all our mental health from severe anxiety and depression at one extreme, and potentially blissful happiness at the other. Many of us, and I include myself in this, comfortably hover about in the middle. Notwithstanding the difference between happiness and pleasure, which can be a blog topic for another time. 

Where on a scale of one to ten, with one being the lowest possible score, and ten being the best are you today? 

I’m on about five today, while coping with plumbers sorting out a building glitch and working hard on target with our plans for reaching out to help as many people as possible and that’s all good. Later today it will rise as I go out for a walk and zoom with friends.

Our physiology is complex. Our bodies and consequently moods are also influenced by both our internal and other external factors. These include peptides, bio-chemicals, hormones, blood sugar, genetics, nature, nurture, the weather, the situations we find ourselves in, our interactions with others (or lack of in a lockdown), and underneath all this may be our core beliefs and habituation. Two powerful human traits, powered by the conscious and subconscious, designed to keep us safe and alive. The brain also requires stimuli. Stimulation, even the smallest of things, aids optimal functioning, and we’ve all lost so much stimulus in the last year, as almost every day has been the same. I certainly would struggle some days to say what the date is if asked, and I know so many others feel this way too. 

Core beliefs that we are not always consciously aware of, nor are we always aware of their origins. These can either shout their message loud and clear in our heads, such as “I’m not lovable”, or whisper “I’m not good enough”. These beliefs often need careful unpicking, before skilfully disputing, challenging, and changing. 

Habituation – our routines, feel familiar and safe. The brain’s primary job is to keep us safe and alive, and the brain loves and clings doggedly to the familiar, fiercely resisting the unfamiliar. This can lead to us simply feeling stuck, experiencing  procrastination, or as Adam says in his article currently languishing. Even stronger resistance to the ‘unfamiliar’ can lead to low mood, or sometimes more severe anxiety and/or depression. 

Stimulation for the brain comes in many forms: connecting with others, observing nature and new surroundings, and importantly having new experiences. While the first one may be harder to achieve at the moment, the second becomes easier as the weather warms and we naturally go outside more. Try consciously observing the changes to the trees, the shrubs and the grass wherever you live. 

For new experiences there are so many options: walk a different route, try a new food or recipe, read a different newspaper or a different type of book, change the furniture around if you can’t go out, or at least rearrange the pictures.  

Whatever your score: whether you’re languishing, listing, feeling on top of the world, or not, simply know that there’s many variations and so much potential for change and support in all of us. Why not come and join our FB community for sharing stories, support or to ask questions. Sasha Holyoake and I work together in this safe supportive space and it’s a great place to be. on Tuesday May 4th 20121 at 7pm we’re hosting a FREE live workshop on the conscious mind. Look forward to seeing you there.