The Benefits of Being Bored
I've been trying to slow down this summer, smell the roses, so to speak. On a recent two-week vacation in Greece I didn't use the internet once (!) and my phone became just a clock and camera. I haven't re-downloaded my social media apps so I don't check it constantly whenever I have a spare second. I've been trying to focus on one thing at a time, not turning on music or a podcast while I'm writing or reading, being more firmly grounded in the present. I have a bad habit of doing five things at once, toggling between making dinner and doing the dishes and reading and listening or watching and checking my phone. I've been doing my best to pare down and focus. It's not always easy. It can take a lot of will power in this world of multi-tasking and over-stimulation to allow yourself to be bored. In the article "Being Bored Can Be Good for You - If You Do It Right," Jamie Ducharme argues that allowing yourself to be bored and daydream can increase creativity and improve your mental health. It's why, when I need a brainstorming session, I do the dishes, fold the laundry, or go for a walk, tasks that allow my mind to wander and spark ideas. Our brains are overstimulated, Ducharme says, and our focus can improve if we slow down and pay attention to what's around us. Ironically, I was reading this article in a free moment while waiting for my husband to meet me for a drink, and realized how, by seeking out something to read in those few minutes, I'd failed at allowing myself to sit and be bored without reaching for my phone. Allowing ourselves to sit and just be can be surprisingly challenging in a world where we're constantly trying to keep up. Try to give yourself some time each day to just be bored, without having to fill the time. And be patient with yourself, especially at first. It might seem counter-intuitive to let your to-do list be for a little while. Just a few minutes can make a difference. Now go get bored.