Languishing Book Summary - Languishing Book explained in key points
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Languishing summary

Corey Keyes

How to Feel Alive Again in a World That Wears Us Down

4.4 (155 ratings)
21 mins
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    What languishing looks like

    A feeling of emptiness, loneliness, or being adrift. A nagging sense that something is missing from your life,⁠ regardless of outward success. These emotions collectively have a name: languishing. And as seventh-grader Paul discovered, languishing can propel you toward shocking acts just to fill the void.

    Paul had seemed like a typical underachiever –⁠ sullen, unmotivated, perpetually bored. But his misbehaviors like acting out in class and vandalism masked a bigger issue. Languishing had seeped into Paul’s psyche amid the turmoil of hitting adolescence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Without supportive relationships to buoy him, Paul began spending days on end holed up in his room, avoidant and distant. Then, one day, Paul bought a realistic replica gun and made social media posts about bringing it to school. He never ultimately brought the gun into school, but he was, nevertheless, expelled immediately.

    Like Paul, many young people today experience languishing. Often, it’s a result of alienation and the obsession with status on social media causing young people to believe that they have nothing to contribute to society. As many as 50 to 60 percent of people experience languishing at some point in their lives.

    Languishing manifests differently across age groups but can ultimately affect everyone, regardless of age. Kids who languish often act out, struggling with delinquency and self-harm. Many languishing college students disengage from their classes or abuse substances. Languishing middle-aged adults might miss work frequently and be less productive. And elderly adults tend to become isolated as physical ailments impact their ability to engage in hobbies and socialization.

    No matter the age at which it occurs, languishing is dangerous. Ultimately, it’s the void between depression and flourishing –⁠ and this neglected “middle child” of mental health deserves more attention.

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    What is Languishing about?

    Languishing (2024) delves into the often-overlooked state between mental well-being and mental illness: languishing. It offers a comprehensive analysis of how individuals can find themselves stuck in this state of stagnation and emptiness and presents a compelling guide for recognizing and addressing this state. Through an exploration of strategies for enhancing well-being, it empowers readers to transform their mental health landscape, advocating for a proactive approach to emotional and psychological resilience.

    Languishing Review

    Languishing (2021) sheds light on the psychological state of feeling neither depressed nor flourishing, offering valuable insights on mental well-being. Here's why this book stands out:

    • Explores the concept of languishing with depth and clarity, helping readers pinpoint and understand their emotional experiences.
    • Provides practical strategies for overcoming languishing and cultivating a sense of fulfillment in everyday life.
    • Blends research-backed findings and relatable personal stories that make the content both informative and relatable.

    Who should read Languishing?

    • Individuals experiencing burnout or feeling overwhelmed by life
    • Wellness and life coaches
    • Anyone curious about or looking to improve their mental well-being

    About the Author

    Corey Keyes is a sociologist and psychologist who has made significant contributions to the field of positive psychology. A professor emeritus at Emory University, Keyes has also made important contributions to shaping public health policy through his advisory work with the CDC and governmental agencies across Canada, Northern Ireland, and Australia. He is credited for popularizing the term “languishing” as it relates to the psychology of well-being.

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    Languishing FAQs 

    What is the main message of Languishing?

    Languishing emphasizes the importance of understanding and addressing the feeling of being stuck or unfulfilled in life.

    How long does it take to read Languishing?

    The estimated reading time for Languishing is a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is Languishing a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Languishing offers insightful perspectives on mental health and well-being. It's a worthwhile read for those seeking to understand and overcome feelings of stagnation.

    Who is the author of Languishing?

    The author of Languishing is Corey Keyes.

    What to read after Languishing?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Languishing, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • And Then We Rise by Common
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    • Raising Mentally Strong Kids by Amen MD Daniel G. & Charles Fay
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    • Single, Dating, Engaged, Married by Ben Stuart
    • You, Happier by Daniel G. Amen