Are you the kind of person who’s super excited for summer because you’ve planned on doing absolutely nothing at all? Because, pssh, summertime = recharging time, amirite???
Hey! High five! That’s me too! 😀
Well let me guess: halfway into the break and you’re already letting out undignified wails and gradually melting into a pathetic puddle who has declared yourself Extremely Bored™.
Hey high five me too.
I mean let’s face it, summer boredom is the work of a jealous evil workaholic sorcerer. Some lucky ones avoid it altogether by signing up to summer camps or applying for summer jobs. While the rest of us poor unfortunate souls are left to deal with it in the most ungracious ways possible. You know, like rolling around the bed moaning like a llama.
But you gotta admit, we all avoid it. We avoid summer boredom like the contemporary plague that it is. We keep ourselves busy and we run to the other direction whenever we see it coming our way.
Actually, when you think about it, we avoid boredom, period. Whatever the kind.
But have you ever tried being like the ever-philosophical Hammond* and stopped for a minute and thought: why do we hate boredom?
“Oh pssh, that’s easy, Kate. It’s awful, it makes you feel anxious, you feel like a bum, and you feel awful for being an unproductive puddle of uselessness. Did I mention IT’S AWFUL??”
*Mistborn Series, anyone?
But what if I tell you that boredom is actually important?
And no, I’m not just being a Sunnyside Sunshine Sarah here. I’m not trying to see the good thing in even something as glum as boredom, okay? It’s true! Boredom apparently boosts your creativity. You want proof?
Okay, let me enumerate them in pretty purple diamond bullet-points:
♦ University of Louisville researcher Andreas Elpidorou pointed out that boredom is a “regulatory state that keeps one in line with one’s projects.” Basically, boredom is your brain’s way of warning you that you are not doing anything productive and you have to come up with something more stimulating to do.
♦ In two separate studies, researchers have found the connection between feeling bored and getting creative. Each study had a group of participants do uber-boring tasks such as reading phone books and watching an incredibly boring video clip. And these bored groups outperformed groups who were relaxed or elated on creativity tests.
♦ Oh, and in case you’d think this is some modern finding we’ve only realized recently, you’re dead wrong. Philosophers from way back to a century ago had already mused about the importance of boredom in our everyday lives.
British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips pointed out the adults’ way of making children grow out of boredom by providing them young ‘uns with interesting things. And this is hindering that child’s opportunity to find, on his own, what interests him.
What these pretty purple bullet-points tell us is that boredom exists for a reason. It is that push that motivates us to engage in more creative and fun activities.
Seeing as we’re gradually turning into a creativity-seeking world, it’s no question really that we are also looking for more interesting and highly creative things to do.
Of course, you need to know the difference of a good type of boredom from a bad one
Because much like how there’s a good type of stress and a bad type of stress, according to British philosopher Bertrand Russell, there are two kinds of boredom: a fructifying one (the motivating kind of boredom) and a stultifying one (the boredom that turns you into an undignified wailing llama).
Being able to differentiate between the two can be useful in dealing with boredom in your everyday life.
So here’s what you can do with the good kind of boredom.
Instead of running for the hills or containing it in a glass jar, treat it like… well, treat it like Sadness*. Allow yourself to go along with it. Let your brain experience boredom. Doodle random weird-looking creatures, make an improvised origami, spin a pen. Make something out of being bored.
*I swear, the moral of Inside Out is super applicable to life
And how exactly do we make use of being bored, Kate?
You know that famous productivity technique, “Eat The Frog”? Where you do your worst and most tedious task first thing? Same concept.
When you think you need creativity to finish a certain project, try to start your day accomplishing the boring tasks first. In a way, it’s like your brain saving up your creative energy so you could use them at the right time 🙂
Your turn: Do you get bored often? Have you taken the Boredom Proneness Scale Test? What do you do when you’re bored? Share your thoughts!
♦♦ Have a creative day, awesome peeps! ♦♦