Why bore­dom is not all BAD

Feel­ing guilty for zon­ing out and do­ing noth­ing? Well, don’t – it is do­ing you a world of good!

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - INSPIRE -

With the dis­trac­tions of mod­ern life, day­dream­ing has be­come some­thing of an an­cient art. How­ever, star­ing into space can be sur­pris­ingly good for your men­tal health. Bore­dom is a cru­cial part of hu­man be­hav­iour, but the word only en­tered the lan­guage in 1852 and has re­ceived less at­ten­tion that it de­serves.

We think that keep­ing kids busy with a slew of sched­uled ac­tiv­i­ties will stop them from get­ting “bored”, but un­struc­tured child’s play has had a proven con­nec­tion to over­all health as an adult.

Stud­ies have shown that child­hood ex­pe­ri­ences which were de­void of this type of play have of­ten led to higher rates of crim­i­nal­ity, sub­stance abuse, and ad­dic­tion as adults.

Not be­ing in the mo­ment also means we are not de­vel­op­ing the part of us that ob­serves, em­pathises and savours mo­ments. In­stead of be­ing a waste of time, an hour spent do­ing noth­ing is key to cre­ativ­ity and bursts of in­spi­ra­tion. When our minds wan­der, the brain en­ters its most creative mode – the de­fault state. This is where we make con­nec­tions which spark those light-bulb mo­ments, and how we make sense of the com­plex as­pects of life.

Just Don’t Do It!

TAKE A FAKECATION Make time in your week to switch o all your de­vices and let your mind wan­der. Sched­ule it. Write an out-of-o ce mes­sage or let peo­ple know you will re­spond later.

PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY By keep­ing your de­vice away from your body – in a bag, not your pocket – you can re­duce up to 18 min­utes of phone time daily. Im­prove the qual­ity of your re­la­tion­ships by putting it away when you are hav­ing din­ner with your part­ner or friend. Stud­ies show the pres­ence of a phone, even ly­ing on the kitchen counter, can lower the qual­ity of con­ver­sa­tions.

TRACK HABITS Take note of ev­ery so­cial me­dia ses­sion, or use apps like BreakFree. Its cre­ator de­signed it af­ter he found that he could not €nish a con­ver­sa­tion with his wife with­out ei­ther of them check­ing their phones. You might be shocked by how much you check your phone; it could be up to 110 times a day!

START TO DAY­DREAM Iden­tify a prob­lem you have been grap­pling with. Put a pot of wa­ter on the stove and watch it boil down; you will get bored, which will ramp up cre­ativ­ity. We use a lot of brain power when day­dream­ing – 95 per cent – al­most as much as when we are en­gaged in a task, so do not feel guilty.

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