Boredom – Is it really that bad?

With lockdown a very ‘real’ thing, many of us have spent hours wondering around the house trying to find things to do to beat the boredom.

Unfortunately, boredom often gets a pretty bad wrap. Yes, boredom and isolation in extreme measures can lead to long-term issues, however, bored also can help us in many ways.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why we should embrace boredom?

It’s a great way to get away from it all

Boredom means we have nothing to do, literally, nothing to do. Is that a bad thing? Is having some time to completely switch off a negative?

If you stood back counted how many opportunities you have had to just sit, breathe, enjoy the emptiness and just ‘be’ - I bet it would be a very small number.

Next time you are bored, soak up the solitude and try to learn the basics of mindfulness. Mindfulness is essentially the art of practicing your awareness on the present moment and blocking out the stresses. Don’t worry, when we use the word mindfulness, it’s not all about sitting and staring into space for hours, it can be a simple ten minutes using some of these basic methods

Did you know that research has found significant health benefits of mindfulness, including improved sleep, emotional stability and more success with weight-loss efforts?

Give it a go!

It can boost our creative juices

When a human is faced with nothing to do, one of our basic instincts is to do the complete opposite – find something to do.

When we are bored, we start to seek out interesting ways to occupy our minds and bodies, we are forced to think outside the box to seek interest.

In one BBC article, it discusses a study where British psychologist Sandi Mann divided subjects into two groups and gave one the boring task of copying numbers from a phone book. Each group was then given a creative task of coming up with as many uses as possible for a plastic cup. The ‘bored’ group outperformed the others. Another set of students, who had the even duller task of simply reading the phone numbers, did even better. The thinking is that boredom gives us a push to explore creative outlets to fill the ‘gap’ our brain is noticing.

Even science says boredom can help us grow, so next time use that downtime to find stimulation and new interests in different areas.

Mastering skills and projects

I’m not sure if you noticed that every lockdown so far, there has been an influx of visits to Bunnings and home renovation stores.

We love using down time to improve our surrounds or master a skill that we’ve been wanting to test out.

If painting and decorating isn’t your thing, we can easily say many others have started the novel they’ve always wanted to write or tested out the cake recipe they found daunting.

Boredom can lead us to starting, mastering or finishing a project or skill, and that in turns leads to a huge boost in our self-confidence and feeling of accomplishment. Boredom spurs us to achieve!

So next time you think you are ‘bored’, I hope I may have spurred you into thinking of turning that negative thought into a constructive one.

Of course, as we touched on at the beginning, simple boredom can be trivial but long-term isolation and loneliness are serious. If you have been living with feelings of isolation, get in touch with us to help discuss strategies to support you.

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