An Ancient Mood Revisited?
Updated: Nov 1, 2020
Is it time to bring back an ancient emotional term in light of our current situation? In an effort to describe a condition common to monks who led an austere and isolated lifestyle, early Greek Christians labeled it as acedia. It is marked by feelings of listlessness, anxiety, lack of motivation, and difficulty in concentration. Does that sound familiar?
To those ancient Christians, the concern was that acedia would lead to monks abandoning their spiritual practices, it was actually considered a type of sin. Eventually, the term acedia morphed into sloth or laziness, which is not quite the same thing.
With the enforced isolation and the monumental disruption of daily routines due to the pandemic, you may find yourself feeling unmotivated, yet restless at the same time. For example, during the added downtime you may have intended to finish reading a challenging book or to complete a household project you've been meaning to get around to. Yet you never seem to get started and find yourself unable to resist wasting hours scrolling social media or channel surfing instead. So what can you do?
There is a motivational strategy I frequently recommend to people looking to overcome procrastination, whether it be to exercise or any other worthwhile activity. Force yourself to GET STARTED daily even if only for a minute or two, especially when you don't feel like it. If you wait for the feelings to change, you may be waiting indefinitely. But when you start to take action, no matter how small, positive feelings will start to follow. (I detail this further in my book Attainable, Sustainable CHANGE!
It can also be useful to have a label for what you are experiencing and I suspect acedia may fit the bill for many of us since it's not quite the same thing as clinical anxiety or depression. Also, remember you are certainly not alone with this experience, pretty much everyone I run into, myself included, seem to be experiencing it to some degree. And we will get through it somehow. Please feel free to connect if I can be of service.