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Mood of the Year: Languishing

If you felt a chronic sense of ‘blah’ in 2021, you weren’t alone. Here’s a guide to recharging your emotional batteries and getting back on the road to thriving.

What we save to Pocket can be a fascinating window into what’s occupying our collective attention. And in 2021, the most-saved article on Pocket gave a name to the mood that many of us were feeling but couldn’t quite identify: languishing, a pervasive ‘meh’ feeling that dulls our motivation, focus, and joy. If 2020 was a rollercoaster of intense anxiety and grief, 2021 had many of us struggling to cope with the long-haul stress and ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic. The result was a mass sensation of “stagnation and emptiness,” writes organizational psychologist Adam Grant. “It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield.”

We asked Grant, author of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know and the host of the TED podcast WorkLife, to curate a collection of articles that inspired his research on languishing and his own methods for finding focus and flow. Read on for tips for taking proper stock of your mental well-being and how to rekindle your spark.



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