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How to channel boredom | Psyche Guides

Boredom

Boredom

Boredom is not characterised by the absence of desire. It involves desperately wanting to do something, but not finding anything that can satisfy that restlessness.

When you're bored, whatever you are busy with now seems unfulfilling in some way. You may be unfulfilled by the daily repetitive work that never changes. Boredom is prodding you to explore better options for becoming engaged.

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The Anxiety We Feel While Waiting For Something
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Mindfulness and meditation are effective strategies to still and center our thoughts and emotions but they do not seem to help much during a wait.

We feel anxious during the wait because th...

Find Out Why You Hate Waiting

Fuming over waiting is only scratching the surface, and is short-sightedness towards a symptom. We need to dig deeper and look for the cause, asking oneself the reason for the wait.

We can then begin to ask ourselves who the beneficiary of the waiting game is. We can sometimes benefit ourselves from waiting, as it builds our patience, and also helps others(as in case of a traffic light).

The Wait Mode: Being Stuck In A Limbo

We hate waiting as it breaks the day’s flow, putting us in limbo. This wait mode is what gets to us, as it pulls us to the present moment, which we are trying to avoid most of the time by remaining distracted in the world. This time can be used to unlock the default mode of our brain, using daydreaming and our imagination network.

We need to embrace this forced present tense of our lives, that holds us in front of ourselves. This precious time is full of infinite possibilities to make the future even better.

Boredom: Our Old Friend

In most of the ancient literature and philosophy, boredom is considered a personal, social and moral weakness.

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The Neutral Signal With Many Outcomes

Boredom is a signal to your body that the current activity is not meaningful and we should be doing something else, or be somewhere else. Many recent studies have associated boredom with the urge to flaunt social distancing rules and quarantine regulations.

Boredom by itself is a neutral signal but can affect a person in varied ways depending on his life situation and the current environment.

Boredom Is Like Pain

Boredom by itself does not feel great, but just like pain, it is a body’s emotional call to action. It nudges us to look for an alternate set of behaviours and try to add more significance to our activities.

We normally try to balance paying attention and finding meaning, wanting to do something but not wanting to do anything in particular.

Boredom is not that simple to explain
Boredom is not that simple to explain

We may tend to think of boredom as a response to monotonous activities. But boredom isn't this clearcut.

Research reveals that there's a significant variation in how much bo...

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.