Sometimes getting bored can be good

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Joe Dispenza

Sometimes getting bored can be good

Last update: October 02, 2017

Boredom terrifies us. Chronic boredom, among other things, can be dangerous, as it can trigger harmful behaviors, such as eating at the wrong times or more than necessary (with all the related consequences). Chronic boredom is also a risk factor for mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and OCD. However getting bored from time to time can offer very interesting benefits that are worth analyzing.

We cannot go on without asking ourselves the following questions: Why does boredom scare us? What does it mean to be bored? Why do we need to be busy all the time? Are we afraid of wasting our life or are we afraid to find ourselves alone with ourselves?

"If boredom could be exploited, we would have the most powerful source of energy."

-Ramón Gómez de la Serna-

The healthy habit of getting bored from time to time

Boredom is synonymous with frustration. When we talk about boredom, we refer, in fact, to that frustrating experience of wanting to do something, but not knowing how to carry out satisfying activities. A bored person cannot, therefore, regulate the internal (thoughts and feelings) or external (environment) factors necessary to carry out an engaging activity. However, just as you have to be able to learn to cope with frustration, you have to learn to fight boredom.

As we will see below, getting bored every now and then is very positive as it awakens and encourages some virtues that are not at all despicable. It is not for nothing that illustrious personalities have highlighted the benefits offered by boredom throughout history.

Getting bored fuels creativity

As much as boredom may seem like an annoying sensation that we should avoid at all costs, science tells us that it can be good for our mental activity. For example, research carried out by scholars from the British Psychological Society has shown that passive activities, which we could categorize as "boring", can actually increase our creativity.

This research aimed to demystify the popular belief that being bored at work is a negative experience. Many companies, in fact, see boredom as a factor that hinders the efficiency and innovation of the company.

However, this research has managed to show that occasional and fleeting boredom increases the ability to fantasize, which can actually help sharpen the wits, as companies themselves want. This is due to the fact that getting bored can lead to daydreaming, and this gives us a way to create new connections.

There is also other research, which suggests that boredom encourages the search for new goals when the previous ones are no longer interesting. If you are not interested in your work, therefore, it may mean that it is not suitable or that it does not stimulate us enough. In this sense, boredom can act as a catalyst to improve an unsatisfactory situation.

According to more recent studies, boredom also fuels creativity in children. In this regard, a study carried out by a group of researchers (University of East Anglia) criticizes the idea that a constantly busy mind can contribute to better intellectual and social development.

According to scholars, boredom is not bad. Conversely, it can stimulate the creative capacity of children, who will have to answer the fantastic question: "What now?". Contrary to what we tend to believe, therefore, we must let the children get bored so that they can learn to live with this “daily frustration” and give it good answers.

Getting bored fuels prosocial behavior

Another research conducted by scholars from the University of Limerick, Ireland, highlighted another curious benefit of being bored. According to these scholars, boredom, far from numbing the mind and leading to a lack of productivity, instead, it can inspire people to find ways to be selfless, empathetic, and to engage in prosocial tasks, including some less pleasant ones such as donating blood.

According to scholars, bored people feel their actions lack meaning, so they feel motivated to choose meaningful behavior. They argue that if prosocial behavior meets this requirement (that of being meaningful), boredom promotes this same behavior.

Strange as this may sound, scholars explain that boredom can paradoxically act as a very powerful motivator to induce people to pursue unpleasant but meaningful tasks. Boredom, therefore, increases the prosocial motivations that influence positive behaviors, and that these motivations persist beyond the boring activity itself.

Let's give the mind a moment's respite

Having a busy schedule and an organized day is a great way to be productive, to take advantage of the time, to get the most out of our days. However, every now and then it is necessary to stop. Rest is essential for the body and mind.

Not only. Although organizing leisure activities is very interesting, sometimes you need to have time that is truly free, empty time. We must also let the people around us, our partner, our children, have empty time themselves. Without fear of boredom.

Let us not commit ourselves to occupying every single minute of our time or that of our children. We stop trying to constantly fill the time with something that will entertain us. We don't press our partner when we see him inactive. Beyond the barrier of 'not knowing what to do' there is no unfathomable abyss. So boredom will make us discover a world full of options that will show us new - and even better - ways to spend time.

"Boredom is somehow the most sublime of human feelings"

-Giacomo Leopardi-

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