Beyond the “Blah” of Languishing to Flourishing

By Ed Rubenstein, Ph.D.

In a recent New York Times article, Adam Grant wrote a provocative piece called, “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing”. Sociologist, Corey Keyes brought the subject of languishing to the limelight and explained that languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness and a life of quiet despair. It is a mental state in which people lack meaning, fulfillment, and satisfaction.

Psychology tends to think about mental health ranging from depression to flourishing. Flourishing refers to the peak of well-being and the state where people experience positive feelings. The dulling state of languishing can be overlooked and produce a diminished response over time. Through habituation, this state can unknowingly become a person’s new normal. Languishing has been referred to as the neglected middle child of mental health.

While the distress level of languishing isn’t severe, its effects diminish the quality of positive feelings that people experience in their lives. Grant’s article suggests that the antidote to languishing is flow – an elusive state in which one becomes absorbed in meaningful challenges and projects. And this, he believes, is the best predictor of happiness.

connecting with our spiritual heart as the antidote to languishing

As a psychologist who has worked in the field of mental health for over 35 years, I’d like to suggest that the best antidote for languishing is learning to naturally connect to our spiritual hearts. This is the key to flourishing because our spiritual heart is the center of our deepest peace, calm, joy, and gratitude – our ‘True Heart Feelings‘. What makes our spiritual heart so special is that the core of our heart is our spirit or true self. Our true self has a connection to God, Creator, or whatever terminology you prefer for the True Source of Unconditional Love and the Source of who we really are. Learning to experience True Heart Feelings from this sacred connection is something that’s easier than most even imagine. From my experience, even people with trauma histories can learn to enjoy the benefits of connecting with their spiritual hearts in a very short period.

Heart- mind alignment facilitates flourishing & flow

Connecting to our spiritual heart allows our heart and mind to come into alignment so that the wisdom of our heart can provide insight, a means of creative problem solving, and the ability to make wise choices that best serve the moment at hand. Heart-mind alignment is the key to flourishing and embracing the joy of the moment as well as being grateful for even the smallest things. Without heart-felt gratitude, our life will lack a deep sense of contentment. The opening of our spiritual heart provides a heart-felt natural flow that I feel is the most down-to-earth practical solution to the experience of languishing. This heart-felt natural flow isn’t the same as the concept of ‘flow’ which is characterized by immersion within a meaningful task or challenge.  Even in the absence of an event or project, heart-felt natural flow provides meaningful and fulfilled moments through the doorway of our spiritual heart. There’s an enjoyable radiance that emanates from our connection to the Source of who we really are.

It is important to understand that we are not the ones who open our spiritual hearts. It is by feeling and relying on the connection of our spiritual heart with the True Source of Unconditional Love that allows our spiritual heart to open.


To experience heart-felt natural flow, it’s important to build the proper foundation, which is based on learning to effortlessly feel the joy, peace, calm and gratitude from our spiritual heart. And this state can naturally and easily be enjoyed if we are willing to let go of our attachment to being in charge of perfecting a technique and thinking that we’re the ones that must oversee a self-mastery processs. Futher, being able to integrate this state of heart-mind alignment into our daily routine has a spiritually transforming effect on every aspect of our lives and enhances the quality of our relationships.   

If you are interested in experiencing this for yourself, I recommend watching the following videos:

  • Heart Strengthening:  This helps us in letting go of the self-mastery model so that we can begin experiencing a natural relationship with our spiritual heart.
  • Open Heart Meditation: This is a beautiful way to begin relying on the Unconditional Love of God, Creator, or whatever terminology you prefer so that Love can cleanse our emotional patterns.

Gentle Note: If you don’t feel anything the first time you listen to these videos, please be patient with the process. Remember, this is not a technique to be mastered or a practice that involves “trying”. Instead, it is only about embracing the natural relationship with your spiritual heart. After listening to the recordings a few times, it can get easier to feel and enjoy an enhancement of positive heart-felt feelings. So just relax and enjoy the sweet moments of peace, calm, joy, and gratitude through our spiritual heart’s connection to the True Source of who we really are.