The Benefits of Boredom

art-362-01When done right, being bored can enhance our personal well-being

Believe it or not, boredom has its advantages, and we should learn to embrace it.

While usually perceived as an unpleasant emotional state that can lead to negative outcomes, more researchers are discovering the benefits of being bored towards the mind, imagination and productivity, especially when done right.

Among these benefits include improving our mental health. Being exposed to information and distractions every day can be taxing for the brain, so taking a break through boredom allows our brain to recharge, and even reduce stress.

Boredom also helps boost our creativity and problem-solving ability by enabling us to wander and daydream, as well as take a deep dive into our thoughts and reflection.

Without boredom, we might not have the drive to seek new discoveries, adventures or experiences. Novelty seeking, which can happen when being bored, arises from a sense of dissatisfaction with the status quo, thus bringing about a willingness to take on established ideas and practices.

Furthermore, boredom signals our disengagement in uninteresting or unchallenging situations, and that can motivate us to pursue goals that are more fulfilling than our present ones.

To reap the aforementioned benefits of boredom, we need to learn how to handle it, which gives us the opportunity to enhance our concentration and self-control skills, such as regulating our thoughts, emotions and actions.

The key here is to know how to be bored the right way. Dr Sandi Mann, a Chartered Psychologist and author of The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom Is Good, suggests doing mundane activities involving little to no concentration without music or stimulation to allow our mind to simply wander.

She also recommends not getting distracted by our smartphones, because doing otherwise changes our tolerance towards boredom, driving us to do more to stop being in that state.

“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,” she says.

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