Mixed Emotions

May 2021 - Evergreen Thoughts

My Month in 5 Bullets

  • 💉 Got my 2nd vaccine

  • ❤️ Enjoyed the last couple weeks of family time in FL

  • 🗽 Traveled back to NY

  • 💊 Started the best book I’ve read in years

  • 🧘‍♂️ Got back into meditation


A Simple Equation for Happiness

Happiness = 42.

Oh wait, sorry. I was looking at the wrong chapter in my Book of Life. That’s the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. Ok, enough bad jokes for now. Let’s pretend this never happened. Anyway…

Several months ago I came across a bold statement from one of the most knowledge packed newsletters I subscribe to. He suggested a simple formula for happiness:

Spend time with people you care about, preferably outside, preferably in nature, preferably moving.

The more I think about it, the more I’m impressed with its truth and simplicity. This is partly because I’ve been able follow it regularly over the past few months. In fact, it perfectly describes my favorite parts of being in Florida with my family: long walks with my brother and mom, runs with my dad, and bike rides with my wife.

  • ❤️ Spend time with people you care about: ✔️

  • ☀️ Preferably outside: ✔️

  • 🌴 Preferably in nature: ✔️

  • 🚶‍♂️ Preferably moving: ✔️

The combination of fresh air, endorphins, and connecting with people you care about is quite magical. No matter what your headspace is like going in, I can almost guarantee it’s going to be meaningfully better on the other side.

As the weather warms up, I recommend leaning into these types of activities. For family, friends, and coworkers close by, it’s hard to beat connecting in person. For folks far away, try doing a “walkie talkie” or virtual run.

Who knows, maybe it’ll be the start of a new tradition and you’ll end up like this group of friends who have been deepening their relationship via monthly hikes for 25 years.


The Neglected Middle Child of Mental Health

As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, I haven’t been my normal self. I’m having trouble concentrating. My motivation is lower than usual. Less energy, more blah. As it turns out, I’m not the only one.

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon an article that introduces a term which perfectly describes how I’ve been feeling: languishing.

Languishing was coined by sociologist (and Emory professor 🦅 🙌) Corey Keyes. On a mental health spectrum from depression to flourishing, the article calls it the neglected middle child.

More specifically, the article describes it as, “A sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield.” It then goes on to describe how this emotion affects us: “Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work.” Yikes.

Reading this article was not a languishing silver bullet. However, it was comforting to know I’m not the only one feeling this way. It’s also been helpful to have a term to attach to these feelings. In fact, labeling emotions is one of the best ways to manage them.

While I’m not flourishing quite yet, I’m in a better headspace and more optimistic about the future. Onward and upward.

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👋 Until next time,