My father has always been a role model for me. He wakes up at dawn and fills his day at the edge of the abyss with various activities – reading, working, preparing lunches, door-to-door, gardening, building, going out to visit people – until that he falls asleep around 11:00 a.m. each night.
He rarely complains or growls; he is always cheerful and kind to others and is always the first to volunteer to help a friend with any task at hand. Everyone I know calls him a “legend” and they marvel at the endless energy he has.
He just turned 80.
Meanwhile, my fellow Gen Ys and fellow Gen Zers in their twenties are all struggling to find the motivation to get through their day. It has become a popular phenomenon to complain about being exhausted after a full day’s work. People say that this exhaustion is “just part of getting old” or “it’s just what happens when you start working full time.”
But is it? Is this exhaustion really related to a busy schedule or hard work? When I look at my father, who is at least 50 years older than these youngsters, he works very hard but is never exhausted or exhausted.
I’ve always followed in my father’s footsteps, keeping a busy schedule and volunteering for more things than I have time for. I have found purpose, liveliness, and satisfaction by filling my life with learning, work, challenge, and effort. But this year, everything has changed. I have become… one of them!
I became like the people I had judged: exhausted, exhausted and unmotivated – living only to nap and watch TV shows. I dreaded the idea of doing anything more than the bare minimum every day, and exercise went from being a fun activity to a joke. I felt stagnant, joyless and dissatisfied. I spent hours a day browsing TikTok. I stayed up late to extract as much “juice” as possible from my day, because the day seemed unproductive and boring. I really had a hard time concentrating and I just wasn’t excited about anything. I felt “blabla”.
Can you understand this feeling? You may be experiencing the feeling of “longing”.
Languishing is a kind of exhaustion that affects your emotional resilience, leading to feelings of apathy, aimlessness, disengagement, indifference, stagnation, and a lack of motivation or focus. For the languid, the stress of work demands and life commitments can seem much more daunting than for others. Indeed, this lack of emotional resilience strains your ability to cope with challenges, so you feel like you have no fuel left in the tank at the start of the journey. Adam Grant, in his article in the New York Timesdescribes languishing as the void between depression and fulfillment – an absence of well-being – and the dominant emotion of 2021.
It is a problem.
So why “Blah”?
So what causes this widespread expression of “longing”? Why is everyone so “blabla”? Three main factors have been identified as contributing to this feeling: uncertainty, stress and distraction.
The inability to make plans and set goals to achieve can lead to aimlessness and indifference. When circumstances are uncertain and the body is on high alert, your “fight or flight” defense mechanism in the amygdala (part of your brain) can kick in. This physiological response pumps your body with adrenaline and noradrenaline to maintain alertness and keep you aware of potential threats. Author Marcia Purse pointed out that this experience can become chronic when the uncertainty is prolonged over a long period of time and can lead to consequences such as migraines, anxiety and exhaustion. It wears down your system and reduces your coping mechanisms to stressful and uncertain situations.
Many have reported this anxiety following the COVID-19 pandemic due to ever-changing demands, changes in work environments, and uncertainty about what the future holds. The result of this was a frenzied sense of purposelessness. Chronic stress also depletes our personal resources and resilience, leading to exhaustion and indifference.
The “resource conservation” model is a theory that individuals cope with stress by using personal and external resources. These resources can include things like time, coping strategies, personal resilience, support networks, validation, and encouragement from others. When an individual is faced with stressful demands, these resources are depleted and must be replenished to regain the mental and emotional stamina for the next challenge. When these resources aren’t replenished and restored – when people don’t get the social support or quiet time they need – they experience burnout and feelings of demotivation and exhaustion.
In addition to uncertainty and stress, distraction is a major contributor to longing. Constant disturbances prevent us from concentrating and getting into rhythm. Distractions and multi-tasking force your mind to juggle multiple tasks, diverting your attention to many horizontal planes. Although task juggling has benefits, such as causing organization and motivation via stress, it must be balanced with task engagement. Mental and emotional absorption is important for healthy neural stimulation. When we become engrossed in a task, our sense of time and place dissipates and our minds open up to creativity, exploring new realms of possibility, and interpreting information and ideas in a new light. This deeper vertical thinking promotes focus, progress, and engagement, as well as improved performance, which provides pleasure, purpose, and a deep sense of satisfaction. Where interruptions and stress-induced motivation are not mediated by task absorption, languor results.
Many people of all ages are plagued by “lanangue,” especially following the COVID lockdowns of the past two years, and no longer feel that lemony zest for life. If you suffer from longing, understanding these factors can help you overcome the pervasive apathy you may be feeling and help you experience positive well-being and life satisfaction.
Our mental well-being is powerfully linked to our spiritual well-being, and just as the impact of pining can go beyond work in our personal lives, it can also impact our spiritual lives. In Matthew 24:12,13, Jesus refers to the experience of the exhaustion of our emotional resilience: “Because of the increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm until ‘in the end will be saved.’
What does it mean for a person’s love to grow cold, except that our emotional responsiveness to God and others is clouded? The state of the world is overwhelming to say the least, with pandemics, wars, separation, moral ambiguity, natural disasters, cost of living and all the other stresses of life. It is easy to be overcome and fall into a state of “longing”. It is easy to become aimless, apathetic and indifferent to the world. And God knows that experience is not always in our control. This is why he invites us in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Spending time with God and relying on his faithfulness and his promises can give us the restoration and peace we need.
If you have recently suffered from longing, think about ways to allow yourself to become absorbed in pleasant tasks or hobbies, and remember to connect with the One who can give us certainty, peace and clarity in our lives. . Accept his offer of rest and peace and be transformed by the renewal of your spirit.
the original version of this story was published by Adventist Registry. Olivia Fairfax is a production assistant at Adventist Media while completing law and psychology degrees at Macquarie University.