When I was younger, I remember complaining to Mom, “I’m bored.” I wanted her to take away the boredom…but I was always crossing my fingers that she wouldn’t just give me a list of chores. Yuck.
Now that I’m older, I hear my nieces and nephews saying “I’m bored” to their parents, in the hopes that the parents can make the feeling go away.
We are used to being stimulated, busy, always doing something. People are more human doings than human beings. It is difficult for us to sit still and do nothing.
But during these last several months, there’s limitation on what you can do and boredom is more common.
So what do you do with this new boredom?
Occasional boredom is good for you to experience.
It’s most likely going to feel uncomfortable. It may bring on anxiety and restlessness. Don’t judge it. Don’t try to alleviate it. Just notice it. Don’t fight it and eventually the boredom will be replaced by feelings of peace.
I’m not talking about hours of idle time or laziness. But simply learning the art of relaxing. Learn to just ‘be’ and not ‘do’.
Don’t even start with a specific technique. Simply: consciously do nothing.
Richard Carlson, a stress consultant, says:
“Much of our anxiety and inner struggle stems from our busy, overactive minds always needing something to entertain them, something to focus on, and always wondering ‘What’s next?’ While we’re eating dinner we wonder what’s for dessert. While eating dessert, we ponder what we should do afterward. After that evening, it’s ‘What should we do this weekend?’ After we’ve been out, we walk into the house and immediately turn on the television, pick up the phone, open a book, or start cleaning. It’s almost as though we’re frightened at the thought of not having something to do, even for a minute.
“The beauty of doing nothing is that it teaches you to clear your mind and relax. It allows your mind the freedom to ‘not know,’ for a brief period of time. Just like your body, your mind needs an occasional break from its hectic routine. When you allow your mind to take a break, it comes back stronger, sharper, more focused and creative.
“When you allow yourself to be bored, it takes an enormous amount of pressure off you to be performing and doing something every second of every day.”
The next time you feel bored, it’s great. Be bored for a while. It’s good for you.
Here’s to conquering stress.
The Stress Experts
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