Boredom is the state of being weary, tired, and restless. It does not emerge from lacking things to do. Sometimes we feel bored despite knowing there’s more work left. We all have experienced boredom at different points in our lives, and it’s not something we enjoy.
The most common way we fight boredom is through distraction, and that’s why we keep hopping from one activity to another to feel alive. It is like a momentary addiction where the desperation to get ‘Dopamine high’ by seeking short-lived pleasures can have adverse effects.
Research suggests that Dopamine, known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone, increases in response to both pleasure and stress. So acting upon our impulses and exploring channels to seek rewards could become counterproductive at times.
For, e.g., I used to skim through Twitter every time I felt bored. I thought it was a harmless, fun activity, but I was wrong. Whenever I came across tweets with conflicting views, it bothered me. The more I indulged in it, the more frustrated I became.
What can we do better?
We must start embracing boredom. Instead of looking at boredom as a miserable condition, try to see its benefits. It can happen only when we stay away from all forms of distraction and allow our minds to wander.
By doing this, we get an opportunity to
- go inward and pay attention to what’s happening underneath our emotions, and
- come up with interesting, stimulating ideas, thereby fuelling our creativity and productivity.
Imagine what’d have happened if all the great saints and philosophers gave in to distraction and conformed to existing beliefs. Most of us would be people without perspectives. Their willingness to sit with boredom and deeply introspect the self, the divine and the meaning of life made all the difference.
The art of slowing down
If you’re wondering how to start embracing boredom, well, the simple answer to this is to slow down. The act of slowing down is more important in this day and age than ever. We have easy access to the internet and many forms of freedom (financial, physical, etc.) So it’s effortless to get what we want. And the more we surrender to our impulses, the higher the likelihood of chaos and subtle frustration.
So the next time you feel like distracting yourself from boredom, tell your mind that it’s exciting to remain idle and feel restless. Embrace the moment fully. Don’t try to control your thoughts, but simply observe them. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with a great idea or gain clarity about something towards the end.
When this happens, you might wonder if you’re indeed best friends with boredom. 🙂