Find ways to embrace boredom and discover why it’s good for you.
I’m a big advocate for encouraging my kids to be bored. Boredom fosters creativity, and with technology today, there’s a shortage of creativity with many kids.
However, as grownups, we’ve got problems in the boredom department too. We simply don’t know how to do it anymore, and that’s setting a poor example for the next generation!
Why Boredom is Good for You
Did you know boredom is good for your brain?
It’s been scientifically proven that boredom fosters creativity, can improve your mental health, motivates you to pursue new goals or dreams, and helps improve your overall focus.
In our ongoing pursuit of productivity and achievement, we often overlook the invaluable benefits of embracing boredom. Taking the time to pause and embrace stillness allows us to cultivate mental clarity and emotional balance.
How does one actually cultivate boredom though?
Here is a list of ideas on how to incorporate more purposeful boredom into your days:
1 – Create mindfulness in your everyday activities
Ever heard of mindfulness? I know. It’s one of those buzzwords you hear all the time, but maybe we really don’t know what it means.
According to Mindful.org (I mean, they have a whole website dedicated to the practice of mindfulness so they have to be experts), “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Mindfulness is not just reserved for meditation sessions; it can be integrated into our everyday activities.
Whether it’s savoring the aroma of your morning coffee or fully immersing yourself in the process of cooking a meal, finding joy in the mundane can be a powerful tool for combating boredom. By enhancing our awareness through mindful engagement, we can extract beauty from even the most routine moments of our lives.
2 – Rediscover analog hobbies
When we first moved into our new home, we didn’t have internet for several weeks. (It was a real joy.) For several weeks though, my husband and I got some pretty good laughs because our children didn’t know how to exist in an analog world.
They asked us, “How will we listen to music?” Um…the radio. Oh, yea.
Then, “How can we watch our Friday night movie?” Guess what, the library lets you check out DVDs!
“Mama, can you look up how to spell this word?” Let me introduce you children to a dictionary.
In this digital age, we’ve become spoiled with having the internet world at our fingertips and as our sole source of entertainment.
What if, instead of grabbing a device or streaming something when bored, you take up an analog hobby?
Consider picking up a paintbrush, knitting needles, or a musical instrument. Embrace the meditative effects of art and craft, and revel in the simplicity and slowness of traditional pastimes.
By disconnecting from the digital world and immersing ourselves in hands-on hobbies, we can find peace and inspiration in the tactile experience of creation. Embracing boredom also allows us to be more creative!
3 – Reconnect with nature
Want to be bored without actually being bored? Go outside.
It doesn’t matter if you live on a city block or in the middle of a rural countryside. Going outside is incredibly good for you.
It’s hard at first to be outside without distractions. Even now, when I go through the woods, I often find myself wanting to use my Seek app to identify a plant or my phone to snap pictures of my kids.
However, when we go on a hike with no cell service, sometimes without talking, and just take in the beauty around us, it’s the perfect way to be disconnected and “bored” by today’s digital standards.
You don’t have to go on a hike to connect with nature. In fact, you don’t have to do anything.
Go outside in the morning. Sip your coffee or tea while listening to the world wake up. Take your work lunch outside, and listen to birds.
Take a moment to watch an ant carry a heavy load back to his home.
Nature is incredible. Put away your distractions and be bored in it for a while.
4 – Practice being alone
My mom taught me as a teenager the importance of eating lunch or dinner alone some days. She also taught me that it was perfectly acceptable to go to the movies alone or to take a much-needed vacation by myself.
My mom wasn’t encouraging me to be a loner. In fact, we are both very social people. However, she was teaching one very important skill…how to be comfortable being alone and in solitude.
Solitude is not to be feared but embraced. It is in moments of quiet reflection that we can truly delve into the depths of our brains and gain clarity and insight.
Use these quiet moments to reflect, explore your dreams, and uncover the truths that often remain hidden in the noise of daily life.
5 – Find your curiosity again through boredom
One night, while camping with friends and hanging out around the campfire at a campground with zero cell signal, we got to talking about the lost art of “I wonder…”
What happens now when you say, “I wonder…” how this works? When he died? How old is she? Who is the president of that country? Where is that city on a map? How do I fix a bathroom sink? What’s the best way to clean a stove? etc. I don’t know about you, but I’m fast to grab my phone and look up any random fact that pops into my head.
The ability to find immediate answers is awesome. However, we’ve lost the ability with these immediate answers to be curious and explore the possibilities. There’s always an answer waiting for you.
That night around the campground, when we were curious about a topic, we had to talk about it, hash it out, and never quite know if someone was right or wrong. It was great!
Boredom can be a catalyst for creating a spirit of inquiry and intellectual growth. Instead of viewing dull moments as a waste of time, use them as opportunities to delve into topics that pique your curiosity.
Check out a book from the library. Tinker with something. Try a project that might fail.
6 – Embrace the art of doing absolutely nothing
I don’t know about you, but when I go to a doctor’s office, there’s always that awkward moment where you find yourself sitting in a room alone waiting for the doc to come in.
Do I hold my phone? Do I bring a book? Would that be rude when the doctor finally walks in?
A while back, I read a challenge from someone to do nothing when in that awkward moment of waiting. She even said, she would often lay down on the examination table with her eyes closed. If she fell asleep because the doc took so long, then she got a nap!
This challenge was gladly accepted! The last time I went to the doctor, I did just that. I lay back on the table, closed my eyes, and for ten-ish blissful minutes, I rested.
I mean, how often do adults get an opportunity to nap during the day?! While I didn’t fully go to sleep, after a few minutes of feeling bored, I was incredibly comfortable and relaxed.
In a world that glorifies constant busyness, the art of doing nothing is often overlooked. However, there is immense value in allowing the mind to wander freely without restraint.
Give yourself permission to embrace moments of idleness, whether it’s lying down and watching the clouds pass by or simply sitting in silence and observing your surroundings. In these moments of nothingness, you may find unexpected inspiration and a renewed sense of energy and purpose.
Check Out: Quotes to Inspire You to Slow Down in Life
7 – Embrace boredom by practicing digital minimalism
The digital realm can be a source of endless distraction, pulling us away from the present moment and hindering our ability to embrace boredom.
By practicing digital minimalism, we can create boundaries for our digital engagement and foster a healthier relationship with technology. Use technology as a tool rather than a constant source of entertainment, and allow yourself the mental space to fully engage with the stillness and boredom that surrounds you.
How do you do this? Practice.
You don’t have to swear off your phone forever. I mean, my whole business is online. I use my phone…a lot. However, you can do small things to practice your digital minimalism.
The next time you are in line at the grocery store, do this….nothing. Just wait for your turn. That’s it. Watch the person in front of you. Talk to the lady behind you. Heck, flip through the trashy magazine. There, you’re a digital minimalist (at least within the walls of the grocery store)!
8 – Schedule your boredom
OK, is it really the act of being bored if you have to schedule it? I think so. I’m one for breaking the rules.
Being bored as an adult takes practice. We always have somewhere to be and something to do. Sometimes, we need to force ourselves into this time of quietness.
If you struggle with being still, then schedule it! Seriously, pull out your phone right now, and create an appointment with yourself for tomorrow for one hour, in which time will do nothing productive.
What do you do at this time? Well, you could mediate, but gosh, that seems hard if you aren’t very good at being bored.
Go easy on yourself. Pick up one of those analog hobbies. Read a book. Go outside and take a leisurely walk. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
By embracing boredom as a scheduled practice, you can find the equilibrium between productivity and rest, allowing yourself the time and space to explore your passions and rediscover your purpose.
The surprising benefits of boredom
Boredom is not an enemy to be feared but a friend to be embraced.
By acknowledging the importance of stillness, cultivating mindfulness, reconnecting with nature, fostering deep reflection, nurturing curiosity, and embracing the art of doing nothing, you can unlock a world of inspiration and self-discovery.
Practice digital minimalism, create a balanced life with scheduled boredom, and watch as your creativity and passion flourish. Embrace boredom as a gateway to rediscovering the joy and purpose that reside within you.
What’s your favorite way to embrace boredom? Share in the comments section below.
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