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The Benefits of Being Bored

One afternoon as I was “multi-tasking” my way through work in the grips of a media-meltdown, I realized I was simultaneously on my MacBook, iPad and iPhone, while continuously either listening to records or watching television. It was amazing I was getting anything done at all with all the self-imposed distractions around me. However, it occurred to me that I am so used to all the stimulus that I am able to focus on my work just the same as if I was sitting in silence.

This caused me to wonder if there is ever a time I actually am sitting in silence, without watching, listening, reading, typing or talking. It was difficult to really think of a moment in my day when I am purely alone with my thoughts, other than when I am going to sleep, and even then I usually fall asleep to a podcast. It has kind of been a wake up call to think about all the constant media and other content I am consuming, and it has made me wonder if all this “noise” is having an affect on my mental wellbeing. 

After some soul searching, I have found that the root of always wanting to be connected stems from my great aversion to being bored. Boredom has become almost a fear in my life, and I find many of my peers feel the same way. Not only is the feeling of boredom one of frustration from not being either mentally fulfilled or challenged, but it can also carry negative personal connotations. Like the saying goes, “you are only bored if you are boring.” If I am in a situation where I am feeling perpetually bored, I personally begin to feel like I am wasting my time and becoming unproductive, which can be interpreted as a reflection of how unsatisfying my life is at that moment. 

Fortunately, it turns out that boredom, in moderation, can actually be a good thing. Research has shown that moments of boredom can actually boost creativity due to its ability to cause the mind to wander and daydream. Since we are always so plugged in, psychologists have found that Americans aren’t as creative as they used to be since there is no “boring” time for our minds to search for new ideas. Boredom can also promote people to set new goals for themselves. For example, if you realize you are bored at work, it may cause you to explore new career options in order to find something that will really challenge and engage you. 

With that said, it might do us all good to be a little more bored now and then. Even if that just means turning off the radio during your morning and evening commute in order to be alone with your thoughts. You might be surprised as to where your mind will take you.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Mateus Lunardi Dutra

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