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!
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.