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How boredom can spark creativity

Allowing our minds to wander

Boredom triggers daydreaming, and that leads to creativity. In essence, boredom is not the state that is really good for the creative process. It's doing something familiar with a kind of diffused focus that allows your mind to wander.

  • Choreographer George Balanchine said he did his best work while ironing in the morning.
  • Writer Doris Lessing often took breaks from work to tidy the house or wash dishes. This aimlessness was vital to help her create her ideas.
  • Margaret Atwood found this state from birdwatching.
  • Many creatives also cite walking as being vital to their process.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How boredom can spark creativity

How boredom can spark creativity

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20200522-how-boredom-can-spark-creativity

bbc.com

4

Key Ideas

Boredom sparks creativity

Boredom is one of the most important factors in creativity. Boredom is a productive state as long as you don't let it get to you.

Agatha Christie said there is nothing like boredom to make you write. Neil Gaiman advises aspiring writers to let themselves get so bored that the mind has nothing better to do than tell itself a story.

Our mind when we're bored

When we're bored, two key things are happening in our minds: One is a 'desire bind' where someone wants to do something but not anything that's on offer. The other is when your mind is itching to be engaged.

Don't fill the void

Our first instinct when we experience some boredom is to fill it with Netflix lists, Instagram feeds, and TikTok videos. Riding out this boredom is vital though.

Boredom is not in itself creative. It's what it leads to that is significant. In the gap of boredom, you're motivated to look for something else, and there's a real chance you'll discover something new.

Allowing our minds to wander

Boredom triggers daydreaming, and that leads to creativity. In essence, boredom is not the state that is really good for the creative process. It's doing something familiar with a kind of diffused focus that allows your mind to wander.

  • Choreographer George Balanchine said he did his best work while ironing in the morning.
  • Writer Doris Lessing often took breaks from work to tidy the house or wash dishes. This aimlessness was vital to help her create her ideas.
  • Margaret Atwood found this state from birdwatching.
  • Many creatives also cite walking as being vital to their process.

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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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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.

Research shows that people who are bored...

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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Boredom

It's the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest. Boredom is rooted in the urge for meaningful activity or engagement that finds no satisfying avenues of express...

Boredom And Daydreaming

Where boredom is passive, daydreaming can be an active experience. Allowing ourselves to notice, and to be open to our surroundings, is a way of awakening our curiosity for the world outside ourselves. 

Also, boredom is an aversive emotion linked to disgust, whereas lots of people like to daydream.

Daydreaming And Creativity

We should give ourselves the space to daydream. After all, insight comes unannounced and such small epiphanies can constitute clues to our particular predisposition and personalities.

There are strong links between daydreaming and problem-solving and creativity. Neuroscientists have found that during periods of idle daydreaming or sleep, the brain goes into problem-solving mode. 

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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.

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Boredom Sparks Creativity

Boredom is an unsatisfied search for neural stimulation. But, there is scientific evidence that boredom prompts the mind to entertain itself and can enable creativity and problem-solving ...

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.

Ennui
Ennui

Ennui is a form of chronic boredom and it usually involves tiredness, dissatisfaction, apathy and feeling that everything is uninteresting and unfulfilling.

Symptoms of Ennui

Generally, ennui makes you feel almost always bored (in general or in specific parts of your life - your job or your hobbies); you feel this boredom on a deep, existential level, in a way that is hard to change.

You may also lack enthusiasm or excitement and show no interest in how the future will look like.

Ennui and depression are separate phenomena

A person can suffer from ennui but not depression. Similarly, this also means that it’s possible for someone to suffer from depression but not ennui.

Depression is well defined from a clinical perspective, and is therefore a commonly used medical term, whereas ennui isn’t, and shouldn’t be viewed as such.

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Go With The ‘Flow’

Flow is the satisfying feeling of absorption we get when we’re wholly focused on an enjoyable, open-ended activity, of which we are in control but which stretches our abilities...

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.

The stress of commuting
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Transitional buffer

A new study examines the function of the commute as a psychological gateway between home and work.

The daily commute serves as a "role-clarifying prospection" - it gives you the time and space to think about the upcoming work role.

Commuting creates opportunities

Commuting allows employees to engage in some degree of prospection about work. Perhaps the commute also offers an opportunity to engage in deeper levels of creativity.

  • Globally, the average commuting time is 38 minutes each way. That adds up to a lot of time, which may offer a chance to read, listen to a podcast, audiobooks, or playing Scrabble.
  • It also allows time for boredom where the mind can wander, which can produce original thoughts and also problem-solving.
  • During the evening commute, one has time for reflection after the working day is done.

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