Found this fascinating video by psychologist Dr. Sandi Mann, who explains why boredom can be a powerful emotion.
Dr. Mann’s book, The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom Is Good, explores how embracing boredom can be good for you. She shares some of the key findings in this great article on Time.com…
Boredom sparks creativity
At its core, boredom is “a search for neural stimulation that isn’t satisfied,” Mann says. “If we can’t find that, our mind will create it.” As demonstrated by the new study and
plentyothers before it, boredom can enable creativity and problem-solving by allowing the mind to wander and daydream. “There’s no other way of getting that stimulation, so you have to go into your head,” Mann says. You may be surprised by what you come up with when you do.
Boredom is good for your mental health
Daydreaming can be “quite a respite” and provide a brief escape from day-to-day life, Mann says. But it’s also beneficial to simply step away from screens, work and other stressors long enough to feel bored. Studies have shown, for example, that modern tools including work emails, social media and dating apps can strain mental health — so taking a break can be a valuable opportunity to recharge.
How to be bored the right way
Mann says it’s important not to 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, she suggests picking an activity that requires little or no concentration — like walking a familiar route, swimming laps or even just sitting with your eyes closed — and simply letting your mind wander, without music or stimulation to guide it.
It’s also crucial to unplug during this time, Mann says. Our cultural attachment to our phones, she says, is paradoxically both destroying our ability to be bored, and preventing us from ever being truly entertained.
“We’re trying to swipe and scroll the boredom away, but in doing that, we’re actually making ourselves more prone to boredom, because every time we get our phone out we’re not allowing our mind to wander and to solve our own boredom problems,” Mann says, adding that people can become addicted to the constant dopamine hit of new and novel content that phones provide. “Our tolerance for boredom just changes completely, and we need more and more to stop being bored.”
Next time you find yourself in line at the grocery store, in a tedious meeting or killing time in a waiting room, resist the urge to scroll. You’re bound to get bored — and your brain, mood and work performance just might improve.Time.com, Being Bored Can Be Good for You—If You Do It Right. Here’s How
I also loved this talk on boredom leading to some of our most brilliant ideas by Manoush Zomorodi, a journalist, author, and podcaster (who also quotes Dr. Sandi Mann in her talk!). I get a feeling that you just may be able to relate with this:
If you’re normal, I’m pretty sure you’re inspired to give boredom a try. The best part is that we don’t even have to try hard. Stash away your gadgets (phones, earphones, laptop, iPads etc.) in one room and walk into another. Sit quietly. You’re not meditating, so, keep your eyes and ears open. Just sit there and observe. You’ll be bored in a matter of minutes! Thankfully, we now know the best is yet to come!
I love Jude Stewart’s conclusion to her piece on boredom in The Atlantic:
In our always-connected world, boredom may be an elusive state, but it is a fertile one. Watch paint dry or water boil, or at least put away your smartphone for a while. You might unlock your next big idea.Jude Stewart, Boredom Is Good for You