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Moving from ‘Languishing’ to ‘Flow’ During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Adam Grant, writing in NY Times on 19 April 2021, describes languishing as “the neglected middle child of mental health – between depression and flourishing”.  The term ‘languishing’ was coined by sociologist Corey Keyes.  It’s about not functioning at full capacity.  Languishing dulls our motivation and disrupts our ability to focus.

Psychologists have found that naming emotions is a good strategy for managing them.  

The concept of flow provides a good antidote to languishing.  Flow is about being completely immersed in a task – focused only on our own progress – what’s going on right here and now.

We can’t find flow when we can’t focus., when we’re struggling with interruptions, for example.  Often true pre-pandemic, but is likely to be exacerbated by working from home.  Interruptions coming from household tasks, children, and the demands of colleagues and bosses outside normal working hours.

What helps to find flow?

Setting boundaries – to guard some work time with no interruptions, which leads to better productivity.
Identifying small goals that will challenge by stretching our skills and enhance our resolve, but that aren’t unreachable.
Why not use the international award-winning Functional Fluency Model to help you to recognise and understand where you are currently using your energy?  It provides a framework to develop the strengths you already have and to transform those ways of doing things that don’t work so well.  Functional Fluency enables you, firstly, to notice what’s going on and to assess it in a realistic way and how best to take action so that you can:

  • Be inspired by challenges, whilst managing expectations and sticking to clear limits.

  • Understand own needs and give them sufficient time and attention.

  • Use your curiosity, imagination and creativity in enthusiastic and satisfying ways to meet challenges.

  • Still be considerate towards others, and be assertive and adaptable for mutually beneficial outcomes.

Jane Hicks (2021)

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