Can Boredom Be a Good Thing? The New Case for Being Bored
Anti-Boredom Month was created to find creative and healthy ways to beat boredom, but what if being bored was actually a good thing? Here’s a fresh perspective on boredom and reasons why ‘fighting’ boredom might not be necessary...
July is National Anti-Boredom Month, the time of year to endure the long, hot summer days before the countdown to the first day of school. If you have kids at home during summer break, you’ve probably heard the “I’m bored” complaints at least a few times. If you’re not a parent, you might still find yourself dealing with a case of this summer blues.
But what if being bored wasn't something we all need to avoid?
The Case for Boredom
When someone says they’re bored, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? In most cases, being bored is a lack of having interesting things to do. Whether the day is lacking any exciting activities or you find yourself unmotivated to do much of anything, boredom usually sets in when you give up on doing anything that keeps you engaged and busy.
But is being engaged and busy all the time really necessary? In an era where social media, web surfing and texting usually fill up our hours and days with constant activity, it’s easy to think we’ll never really be bored. A lot of this activity clutters our minds and our days to the point that the ‘noise’ just becomes normal.
But if you take away that phone for a few hours or unplug the internet for a day, you’ll probably find yourself experiencing some emptiness. Without having something ‘to do’ all the time, it’s easy to mistake this state of being as “boredom”.
Why Boredom Can Be a Positive Force In Your Life
Letting boredom set in can actually be a good thing. In fact, Time Magazine reported that boredom can be good for your health because it gives you some mental space to day dream and be creative.
Several research studies show that boredom can be a catalyst for creativity and your brain might need to be ‘bored’ before you can do any creative thinking.
In her interview with Time Magazine, senior psychology lecturer Sandi Mann, explains: “We’re trying to swipe and scroll the boredom away, but in doing that, we’re actually making ourselves more prone to boredom, because every time we get our phone out we’re not allowing our mind to wander and to solve our own boredom problems”.
The constant stream of activity that we deal with on a daily basis — emails, text messages, social media — can actually put a strain on our mental health and ability to think creatively. Letting the mind be bored and tapping into that ‘quiet space’ inside can have a wealth of mental health benefits.
So is being bored necessarily a bad thing? Or are we better off being bored once in a while, to give our minds a rest?
The mindfulness movement encourages us all to recognize the depth of our thoughts and avoid being chronically distracted with activity — both online and offline. When it comes to boredom, simply letting our minds wander and letting go of the need to be occupied 24/7 could work in our favor.
What are your thoughts on boredom? Share in the comments below!