From boosting creativity to instilling mindfulness, boredom can do much for your brains, studies suggest.

When was the last time you felt bored? Truly bored-where you had nothing to do, or didn’t feel like doing anything? When you had to watch lonely clouds in an empty sky through your window or just wander aimlessly around the garden at home, picking at leaves or observing ants walking in a line up a wall?

Chances are that such instances of abject boredom would be few and far between. People today have fewer reasons to feel boredom as the avenues for entertainment and mental Occupation are plenty. While children of the eighties and nineties often spent some or the whole of their summer vacations dealing with various forms of boredom, children today often do not have time to get bored. They have activities packed through their vacations, they have the internet, OTT and video games to keep their brains constantly stimulated and entertained.

But do you want to eliminate boredom completely? Ask researchers.

How boredom can be good for you

Turns out that an idle mind is not the devil’s workshop, after all. According to studies conducted by neuroscientists, boredom can be good for you.

Psychologists James Danckert and John D Eastwood in their 2020 book Out of my Skull: The Psychology of Boredom, say that boredom can push us to realize our potential and lead full meaningful lives.

Without boredom there would be no daydreaming or no room for reflection, both essential for a healthy mind. Daydreaming is where creativity stems from Feeling bored is unavoidable, but it is not a judgment on one’s character or ability, say researchers.

On the contrary, the very feeling could steer the mind towards ideas and creativity. Unstructured time (with no specific events on the schedule) can help children and adults come up with creative solutions to problems, improve social interactions and learn to develop a sense of self-contentment.

In one of his early writings, British philosopher Bertrand Russel advises parents to allow children the freedom to experience “fruitful monotony. This “doing nothing” would make them more inventive and imaginative, he says.

So, what exactly is boredom?

Boredom is defined as an emotional and psychological state when the individual has nothing particular to do and he or she feels that the period is dull or tedious. It is often described as an unpleasant experience. Imagine standing in a long queue at a supermarket or waiting for a bus or at an airport. Essentially, these periods of nothingness are usually described as boring.

In a classroom, for instance. Haven’t you felt bored in certain classes? Well, you are not alone. Studies say it is perfectly normal to feel boredom in a learning environment when the subject being taught is too difficult or too easy.

Technology to the rescue

As soon as electronic devices took over, we have learnt to avoid boredom. We swipe away at our smartphones, going through our social media feeds, playing a game or just listening to music

Technology has had a huge impact on our capacity to feel boredom. It fills up empty time pockets of our lives so well that boredom sometimes has even come to mean the absence of technology. That said, overuse of gadgets has led to a sense of fatigue. How much can you play the same game? How much of other people’s lives do you look at?

How to deal with boredom

Do not try to fight it. Accept it and let your mind wander aimlessly. Create a new routine. Each time you get bored, find a new activity to do.

Avoid quick fixes. Try not to reach out for your games or the TV when you are bored. Passive engagement will do great things for you.

Rest, refresh

Consider boredom as a period of rest for the brain. Leave a little time in a day to get bored. You might discover new hobbies and interests, leam to be mindful, or even leam something new about yourself. Maintain a book of boredom and note down the thoughts that come to mind. At the end of a week or month, if you flip through the pages, you would get fresh insight into your own mind.

Picture Credit : Gooogle  

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