The Cure For Boredom? Curiosity!
Medical experts call it the ‘disease of our time.’ They say "Everyone suffers from it." That feeling you temporarily went through until your school lecture was over, when you finally got through the line at Disney to ride the ride, or that feeling you had on a slow day at work? Medical experts have now decided "boredom" is a disease.
First of all...before I'll ever call "boredom" a "disease," let's first acknowledge that not everything wrong with someone needs to become a "disease." In my opinion, there are some "Medical Experts" that have a chronic condition called "If I don't find sh*t wrong with people, I don't get paid." Basically, if you're one of these people sitting on your ass, making up diseases for people who are sitting on their ass, you are just as bored as the people you claim are suffering from boredom. Do I have your attention now?
Let's be honest about what boredom is, shall we? Boredom is a lack of interest in the world around us. Sometimes people shut down and lose interest in the world around them, because they are exposed to an endless array of stimuli that bombards every waking moment, making it difficult to concentrate on any given topic. This isn't "boredom," it's "overwhelm." We’ve been conditioned over time to expect information to be thrown at us 24/7, and we have just gotten so used to it that we sit there and take it. Sometimes when people get overwhelmed and had enough, they stop interacting and engaging. When they stop for a long enough period of time, they get bored.
Boredom is annoying and frustrating. It's a feeling of unpleasantness arising out of a need for intense mental activity, and yet a lack of excitement for it. This can mean different things to different people. An introvert, for example, would find pleasure between the pages of a book or any other type of solitary activity. On the other hand, an extrovert may seek more thrilling activities as well as more social encounters.
No matter what your personality type is, there’s a direct correlation between boredom and self-awareness. If you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish in life, fully acknowledge your strengths, weaknesses, motivations and beliefs, and are comfortable in your own skin, you’re better prepared with the tools needed to keep yourself interested and engaged in the world around you. You can gauge your moods and feelings and understand what it is you really want out of life. You're also well prepared to deal with others and respond accordingly.
Having a clear understanding of your personality can be a real problem in this day and age with the world at our fingertips 24/7. The idea that we turn off the noise for a few seconds to ourselves, to just close our eyes and be at peace, is a foreign concept. No one wants to sit there and look like they're doing nothing! People who are doing anything might be perceived as lazy and unimportant and that's not how we should present ourselves to others! That’s why full grown adults are transfixed on playing games or browsing through their social media every free millisecond. Downtime can be scary.
In the moments where we really feel our presence, tune in to our thoughts, and get in touch with our feelings...this is when we are at our most imaginative and creative self. It’s how we evolve, discover and invent. Allow yourself to have this time! Your happiness depends on it!
Boredom means we easily fall into a rut, and usually these ruts are filled with negative habits. The result is often a powerlessness to finish tasks, a damper on the quality of life, and exacerbated physical pain. It also comes with a slew of negative ramifications, of which the 5 most common are:
If you find yourself constantly snacking even though you’re not hungry, then the culprit is probably boredom. Eating, especially foods high in processed fats and sugars, makes you feel calmer and happier. Dietitians refer to this as emotional eating, which is often brought on by boredom. In order to keep from bored eating...keep healthy snacks around your house and office. Go for a walk. Lift weights for a few minutes. MOVE.
Boredom can be a symptom of depression, and it can also trigger it. Working long hours, having a stressful work or home environment, or working dull, unchallenging jobs can all boost stress and result in deep bouts of depression. Make sure you schedule time for yourself! I call it making a deposit in your "happy account." If you're an introvert...make time to read a book. If you're an extravert...make time to connect with friends.
• Stress and anxiety
Living day to day in an environment that doesn’t give you what need can be emotionally exhausting. Load on top of that work responsibilities and financial strain, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for chronic stress triggered by boredom and redundancy. If you can't remove the stress from your life, then you need to find a way to change your reaction to stress. Hypnosis and NLP are great ways to train your brain to respond differently to stress.
• Alcohol and drug abuse
In an attempt to break through the boredom spells, it’s common to find people reaching for alcohol and drugs. They’re known for their addictive nature, but in the moment, all people really see is how they allow them to forget the aggravating effects boredom has on their lives. People who make a habit of alcohol and drug use often focus on the bad moments in their life and allow them to create a negative life narrative. Focusing on the good moments in your life can help change that.
• Heart disease
When boredom strikes regularly, your brain releases toxic hormones into your bloodstream. These hormones create problems for your heart. Moreover, those who suffer from chronic boredom tend to skimp out on exercising and eating right. In fact, they’re more likely to turn to bad habits, like smoking and drinking - all of which can take its toll on the cardiovascular system, resulting in premature death. Listen to your body! If you're not feeling well, it's most likely because you're not handling your life circumstances as well as you could be. Before you go to a doctor and ask for a prescription, make an attempt to get a handle on what's going on inside your head because THAT is what is manifesting in your body.
A great way to break the boredom cycle is to step back and look at the big picture. Make a list of every reason why you should be happy, as well as all the things you’ve wanted to try but never found the time and start from there. Be sure to check out our blog on "My New Happy Place" and see how you can create a happy journal to help change your focus.
Ready to break up the boredom? Shake up your routine! Put the smart phone down and phone a friend. Make it a point to form 1 new healthy habit every week. Change your posture, and your mind will follow! Make sure you MOVE and STRETCH for 5 minutes every hour and set a timer so you remember! Try something new and/or different each day. Find something that piques your interest and learn everything you can about it. Keep stimulating your mind in positive, happy ways so that boredom can't set it. The best cure for boredom is...curiosity!