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Boredom Is Good For You

Boredom Before Greatness

I started craving boredom. Strange, eh? Don’t sign off yet.  This blog is for everyone at all stages of life.  

Picture of Boredom

Free photo 775257 © Jason Kasumovic – Dreamstime.com

I recently retired.  Well, not that recent, I guess.  I retired from my more than full-time career as a financial advisor in February 2016.   About two months ago I realized I was busier than ever and had very little time to myself.  Sound familiar?   

I surveyed others about the benefits of being bored, and everyone cringed or started touting how full a life they had. Did I want to be called “a bore”?  I started to pull away from the thought of being bored fearing I was heading down the wrong road, but it kept raising its head.  So, as usual, I did some research.

 Definition of and Research on Boredom

Per Wikipedia, in conventional usage, boredom is an emotional and occasionally psychological state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, is not interested in his or her surroundings, or feels that a day or period is dull or tedious. Wikipedia definition 

I didn’t like that definition, so I kept researching.  Sally Mann, a psychologist, studies how boredom can have a profound impact on our lives.  What I learned from her research is that being prone to boredom is not a good trait.  Chronic boredom can reduce your lifespan.  I kept researching……………there has to be a positive aspect to boredom. 

Mann shared in a BBC Article her research with individuals doing boring tasks all day. She suspected the tedium encouraged their minds to wander, which leads to more associative and creative ways of thinking. Mann said, “If we don’t find stimulation externally, we look internally – going to different places in our minds. It allows us to make leaps of imagination. We can get out of the box and think in different ways. Without the capacity for boredom, then, we humans may have never achieved our artistic and technological heights.” Most noteworthy was the last sentence.

 Evolutionary psychologists, such as Heather Lench at Texas A&M University, say “boredom stops us plowing the same old furrow, and pushes us to try to seek new goals or explore new territories or ideas.” 

Conclusion:

Once I started researching this topic, I was overwhelmed by all the positive studies.  Who knew??  I share below a few links to some interesting articles. 

My conclusion is short-term boredom is a good thing.  Most importantly, maybe it is the ultimate in “mindfulness.”  

If you are nearing retirement or are already in retirement, don’t be afraid of short-term boredom. Journal Your Way to Retirement  Likewise, I believe any life transition could really benefit from a period of boredom.

Here are some questions you can use in your journaling or to ask yourself to get that boredom going and possibly change your life.  

First, what does being bored mean to you? Identify times when you are bored.  As well as, how long does the boredom last?  

Second, during those times, could you just let yourself be bored for a bit? Could you let it go on for minutes, hours or even days? 

Third, when you are bored, and your curiosity kicks in, write down your thoughts and ideas.  They could be life-changing.

Links to Articles:

BBC: Psychology: Why Boredom is Bad…and Good For You

Psychology Today: The Surprising Benefits of Boredom

The Greatist: The Science Baked Benefits of Being Bored

 

 

About 

My long career as a CPA and Certified Financial Planner has kept me locked into numbers for a long time. But, over those years, I have come to understand the power of journaling or writing ideas and thoughts on paper. My hope is for one of these books to resonate with you and to provide you the tools to get what you want in life.

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