Mindless phone scrolling.
Checking phones while attending events.
Listening to music while cooking
And so on.
These are the things I often do when I am bored. In simple words, the state of boredom implies that the current activity one is engaged in isn’t giving them any stimulation. The reasons behind boredom could be many: experiencing monotony in an activity, lack of freedom, the difficulty level of tasks, and so on. So to curb this, one has to redirect their energy to something that will be more gratifying for them. Philosopher Bertrand Russell in his book ‘The Conquest of Happiness’ addressed that our generation has ways to curb boredom but is more afraid of boredom than our ancestors ever were. We have headed towards a world where the need for stimulation is constant. We feel the need to keep ourselves busy all the time.
And we end up feeling like this:
We try so hard to fix boredom but you cannot permanently get rid of it. The irony is that the more you try to fix boredom, the more stimulation you need. Philosopher Bertrand Russell describes this as ‘stultifying boredom’. This causes more exhaustion and can also lead to giving less priority to necessary and mundane activities. Some people who are prone to boredom tend to experience issues like anxiety or substance use. According to the results of a survey conducted in the UK by Drinkaware in 2009, indicated that 8% of the adolescents of the age 16 and 17 consumed alcohol once a week to curb boredom. They are always occupied with tons of tasks that could hamper their mental health.
But our perception of boredom isn’t that crystal clear.
While there are some effects of boredom there is ALSO a good side to it.
Siddharth Warrier, a neurologist says, when you are bored, it means “your attention is free”- you aren’t occupied and therefore suggests we embrace it as the current world we are living in wants us to be occupied. It’s important to sit with oneself and analyze whether one needs to change some things in their routine life or not.
Do I enjoy the current activity?
Is there something new I can bring in?
Should I try something new?
Questions like these might come to your mind. It can also help in setting goals in your life. Bertrand Russell also talks about the concept of ‘fructifying boredom’ that chalks out a path for productivity and creativity. He talks about how mundane but necessary activities of everyday life are usually perceived as ‘boring’ but helps us to be humble and stay connected. Routines do bring order in our life, something which we all were craving for in 2020 during the first strict lockdown.
Boredom can often lead to the rise of creative ideas. For instance, in 2020, everyone had started doing something creative on social media which got popularity, for instance, Yashraj Mukhate’s ‘Rasode Mein Kaun Tha’ song.
The fact that boredom can serve well for us might be a bit hard to digest; we might resort again to the usual ways to fix boredom. But, maybe it’s time to perceive this as an experiment. While we have always felt bad about being bored, it’s better to make peace with boredom and look for various possibilities in life.
Author: Madhura Bilimogga For Limelighting Life Collective
Heshmat, S. (2017, June 16). Eight reasons why we get bored. Psychology Today. Retrieved October 17, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201706/eight-reasons-why-we-get-bored
YouTube. (2021). How to use BOREDOM to your ADVANTAGE. Retrieved October 17, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUrrZf7ExE4
Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Boredom. Psychology Today. Retrieved October 18, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/boredom
O'Connor, P. (2020, April 20). Boredom is a necessary part of life. Psychology Today. Retrieved October 18, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/philosophy-stirred-not-shaken/202004/boredom-is-necessary-part-life
BBC. (2009, August 4). Boredom 'fuels teen alcohol use'. BBC News. Retrieved October 18, 2021, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8181289.stm