The Antidote

Coronavirus lockdow. Bored family watching tv helpless in isolation at home during quarantine COVID 19 Outbreak. Mandatory lockdowns and self isolation recommendations forces families stay home.

What is the dominant emotion for 2021? Languishing, says Organizational Psychologist Adam Grant in a recent NY Times article. It’s a sense of stagnation and emptiness which makes one feel joyless and aimless. After a difficult election, multiple mass shootings and no definitive end to the pandemic, most of us find ourselves somewhere on the spectrum of languishing.

We advocate for learning new skills (Master Class or Skill Share), getting in touch with your environment (plant tomatoes) and looking outward for exotic experiences (travel anywhere outside your home). When you excite your senses, and stimulate your thinking, you can regain purpose and move forward.

When it comes to speaking, conversation with others is the most precious skill that defines Homo Sapiens. Yet, most of us haven’t developed it into an art form. First, when you meet someone, ask what you’re curious about. Dig for specifics, as opposed to asking general questions like “How’s your week going?”

After every few responses, repeat back what someone has told you, prefacing your question with “If I understand you correctly…” or “Are you saying…?” Don’t feel it’s necessary to turn the conversation back to you, with statements like “I’ve had a much worse experience.”

Hopefully, at this point, the other party will reciprocate and ask you what they’re curious about. Not only have you started a meaningful dialogue, but languishing is taking a back seat to a lively interchange of ideas.

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