Boredom

Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

The benefit of social distancing and being in lockdown is that I have more hours in the day to do things outside of work as I no longer have to commute or socialise; though I recognise that this is not the case for many, especially families with young children. However, for those on the same boat as me, do you feel that you have more time? I have tried to make time for myself and work on things that I am passionate about, however, a few of my family have complained that they are bored.

I wanted to delve into this a bit more because I was surprised. Isn’t boredom quite novel in the busy world we currently live in? Just the sheer amount of content from news, books, Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, to Instagram etc. surely means that boredom is dead, and yet we still get bored. Is it because we do not know what to do with our free time?

Grant Faulkner wonderfully describes boredom in this article as an incessant need for stimulation – I have a tic, an affliction, a virus. When a moment of emptiness descends upon me, I reach for my phone, tap it madly, and hope to find stimulation…My brain craves novelty and stimulation, and I’m caught in a loop of compulsive neediness. I can certainly relate to this, have you ever caught yourself looking for new things on Instagram, what is the latest fad during this pandemic? Baking, cooking, working out, making masks, it keeps evolving every week.

But why is boredom considered a negative thing? The word is associated with the sin of idleness and laziness. We should be productive and hardworking; it is what we have been taught to think – it explains the thousands of articles on how to stop boredom. However, I would like to ask when was the last time you felt the tedium of too little stimulation?

We need to be comfortable with boredom, more specifically, mind wandering. Sandi Mann, a psychologist, conducted an experiment to further understand emotions in the workplace in the 1990s. She found that “People who are bored think more creatively than those who aren’t.” Others have described that boredom can be a powerful tool that invites you to rethink your relationship with the world.

We have been given an opportunity to be bored, I recommend embracing it, we have the right to disengage from our surroundings and let us be in our own minds. Therefore, instead of giving you tips on how to tackle boredom (like the rest of the internet), here are a few tips on how to get bored!

  • Avoid technology when you feel bored – entertainment snacks will make you crave for more; rather than controlling your boredom, your need for distraction will never be satisfied.
  • Recover the joy of mundane tasks – when was the last time you wash the dishes and just allowed yourself to be present at the moment thinking of nothing else? Recovering the pleasure of doing small tasks may build a sense of achievement. This might be the perfect chance to work on that minimalist lifestyle and clear out old things.
  • Let your mind wander – when you find yourself bored, why not pick up a pen or paper and just let your mind wander. See where it leads you, let your mind feed on your own thoughts. It could potentially lead you down a creative path.

Let your mind wander!

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