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Why Boredom Is So Powerful in Your Life

Boredom is a social disease

Ages ago, when people were busy trying to survive, boredom wasn’t a choice. They spent all their time securing food or shelter.

We are now overstimulated — easy access to infinite entertainment options is feeding boredom rather than discouraging it.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Why Boredom Is So Powerful in Your Life

Why Boredom Is So Powerful in Your Life

https://medium.com/personal-growth/why-boredom-is-powerful-but-being-bored-is-not-9f22e5daf4c

medium.com

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Key Ideas

Boredom is unused potential

Boredom is a disconnection to everything we can offer the world and vice versa. It's not influenced by external simulation, it's actually an indicator of how you engage with the world.

Boredom is a social disease

Ages ago, when people were busy trying to survive, boredom wasn’t a choice. They spent all their time securing food or shelter.

We are now overstimulated — easy access to infinite entertainment options is feeding boredom rather than discouraging it.

Embracing busyness to escape boredom

People embrace busyness  because they are having a hard time being alone and enjoying it

Being busy is a tricky form of entertainment however — we don’t feel the boredom, but it isn’t fun either.

Boredom and addictions

Boredom is responsible for increased risk of overeating, gambling, alcohol, drug abuse. 

Individuals with high boredom-proneness are more likely to suffer from anxiety, OCD depression.

3 kinds of boredom

  • A form of anxiety. We search for external antidote to boredom: Netflix, a device, company to rescue us.
  • Rooted in fear. We are afraid of being alone with ourselves and paying attention to who we are.
  • The realization that what really makes us feel bored is our thoughts, not reality itself - the world is predictable, our thoughts about it are repetitive.

Embracing boredom as a positive force

  • Meditate: Once you stop resisting boredom, it’s no longer threatening;
  • Boredom feeds creativity: Mind wandering invites creativity.
  • Avoid technology: Entertainment snacks will make you crave for more.
  • Recover the joy in performing mundane tasks: Recovering the pleasure of performing small duties builds a sense of pride and achievement.

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Boredom Is Good

Daydreaming can be “quite a respite” and provide a brief escape from day-to-day life. But it’s also beneficial to simply step away from distractions, obligations, and stressors long enough to feel bored and let your mind recharge. 

How To Be Bored The Right Way

Don’t conflate boredom with relaxation. A purposefully tranquil activity, such as yoga or meditation, likely doesn’t meet the definition of trying and failing to find stimulation.

To tap into true boredom, unplug, pick an activity that requires little or no concentration and simply let your mind wander, without music or stimulation to guide it.

The Importance Of Boredom

It drives us to engage in activities that we find more meaningful than those at hand. Without it, we’d be perpetually excited by everything.

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Focus And The Brain

When we’re consciously doing things we’re using the “executive attention network, ” the parts of the brain that control and inhibit our attention. The attention network makes it possible for us to relate directly to the world presently around us.

By contrast, when our minds wander, we activate the brain’s “default mode network, ” which is the brain “at rest”; not focused on an external, goal-oriented task. In this mode, we still tap about 95% of the energy we use when our brains are engaged in focused thinking. 

Types Of Daydreaming
  • Poor attention control: when people with poor attention control drift into daydreaming. These people are anxious, easily distracted, and have difficulty concentrating, even on their daydreams.
  • Guilty-dysphoric: when our thoughts drift to unproductive and negative places. We berate ourselves for perceived mistakes or flaws and feel emotions like guilt, anxiety, and anger.
  • Positive-constructive: when our thoughts veer toward the imaginative; it reflects our drive to explore ideas and feelings, plan, and problem-solve. 

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Better Employing Idle Time
  • Revisit past experiences, enjoy or reevaluate them.
  • Rethink future plans.
  • Be fully present in the moment.
  • Look around and notice new details to better familiarize yourself with your environment and increase your sense of belonging.
  • Challenge yourself to be still and see it as a form of adventurous living
  • Do things light on engagement to help the mind to disengage from purposeful thought and wander.
Embrace Idleness

While boredom signifies a lack of stimulus, pauses in engagement can be of great value. Being able to appreciate this means you won’t get bored and will be able to find things of interest to think or find contentment in simply being.

Instead of trying to monetize or avoid idle time, use it to develop inner resources, such as curiosity, playfulness, imagination, perseverance and agency. From that all sorts of fulfilling activities can emerge.

Boredom is not that simple to explain
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Boredom and modern society

Boredom is sometimes described as the plague of modern society.

  • Back in 2016, a French worker sued his former employer for "bore-out." He won.
  • Many people, especially those born between mid -1990s and late 2010s, scrolls aimlessly through apps and find nothing of interest.
  • People are even diagnosing their pets with boredom.
The struggle to define boredom

Psychologists differ in their definition of boredom.

  • In the 1960s and 1970s, boredom was defined as the feeling generated by a repetitive task. Researchers found that boredom increased alertness to the things happening around you (distractions).
  • From 1986, the opposite was found. A study found that boredom caused less concentration.

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Upgrading your brain

A new idea, outlook on life, mental model, is all it takes for something to click inside your brain.

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Make Change Stick Around

Acknowledge what you want to change, observe and wonder why you are the way you are.

When you catch yourself repeating an unwanted habit, stop, remember you’re doing it out of habit and that it isn’t the right thing to do. 

Refocus

Label your negative habit as a symptom of something deeper. Get to know your false beliefs. Ask, “Why do I behave or think this way? ”.

Once you notice yourself engaging in the habit, refocus on a positive, wholesome, ideally pleasure-giving activity.

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Idleness and its benefits

If you have any doubts in what the multiple benefits that idleness can provide you with, just note down the fact that being lazy from time to time leads to increased creativity, productivity as well as developing problem-solving skills, as it allows you to take time to see the things more clearly.

Tips to make Niksen effective

In order to keep your effectiveness high while doing nothing, you might want to consider the following tips: 

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  • Take your time getting used to doing nothing.
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Then And Now

Before our modern life, before supermarkets, cities and our predictable routines, we just were. We weren't aware of our feelings but were just reacting/responding to our immediate environment and the situations.

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Difference between solitude and loneliness

We use the two terms interchangeably because we’ve been conditioned to think of them as the same state.

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Connected but alone

From the telegram to the phone to the mobile to the internet, all major cultural inventions have served the same purpose: to bring us closer together.

Today, we’ve reached peak hyper-connectivity. We can cross oceans at the touch of the button, speak to someone, anywhere, 24/7. And yet, statistics report that we’ve never felt so lonely. The technologies connecting us are isolating us.

The truth about loneliness

You can be surrounded by people, at a party, or in the office, and still feel lonely to your core.

And you can be alone, millions of miles away from any human contact, and still feel joyfully connected to the world.

It’s less about our circumstances, more about how we react to them.

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