You may believe boredom is only a problem for holidaying kids on rainy days, or adults who are too lazy to get motivated. However, boredom can go far deeper than this. It can be quite a destructive state of mind if it isn’t recognised and dealt with. Boredom can sap creativity and self-esteem and even lead to substance abuse, or trigger other kinds of harmful behavior. There are different types of boredom
1) You have to do boring things and you feel like you’re on a treadmill
2) You lack stimulation and interest in your life, for whatever reason
3) You feel listless and bored, and cannot seem to engage with life
Read on to discover strategies for coping with whatever boredom threatens you.
YOUR LIFE IS A TREADMILL
Day after day you have to do boring things. Perhaps your job is repetitive and unfulfilling, or you have to do lots of oppressive chores. It feels as if you’re carrying a weight around and everything is pointless.
- Try to practice mindfulness. Being fully present in the moment can reveal the underlying magic in life, and can make your state of mind peaceful
- Stop telling yourself ‘I’m bored’. That only reinforces the state of mind. Instead say something like ‘Life is rich and fascinating. I am finding many things to interest me.’
- Limit daydreaming. That may reinforce the message of boredom within your brain. Every time you come out of the daydream you’re more overwhelmed by the sensation of boredom
- Build challenges and goals into your day. Lots of cleaning to do? Set yourself a time-limit and see if you can beat it. Filling shelves in a supermarket? Break your own record for speed and efficiency. However mundane the task, aim to be the best at it
- Play music. Classical music, such as Mozart, can create a calming background if you’re doing lots of admin or studying, and it can help you concentrate while lifting your spirits
- Make a plan for the future, however hard that seems. You don’t have to accept that you’ll be bored forever. Visualise a time when you will be doing something you enjoy (N.B. This is not the same as casual daydreaming – this has a focus and is creative) Take small steps towards that goal, on a regular basis
LIFE IS BLAND AND EMPTY
Maybe you don’t have boring tasks to do, maybe your days are not filled with routine – maybe they’re simply empty. Your job may lack challenge, you may have time on your hands or what you do may seem easy – and pointless.
Could it be that you are hoping – or even expecting – that someone or something will just materialize in your life and stop you being bored? It is all too easy to become passive and powerless. In times gone by existence was harsh and humans faced many threats, from the weather, predators and other humans. ‘Stimulation’ was certainly not lacking, and times when not very much was happening were welcome interludes of peace. These days we live in apparent safety, and it may feel as if something is missing.
Really, it is up to you. Continual boredom can actually be quite tiring. Your mind and body get into the habit of not bothering, until it feels very hard to be bothered. You may also feel numb. It may have been so long since you were interested in anything that you may have forgotten how to be interested.
Firstly, you need to tell yourself that that you can, and will do something about this. Have you forgotten that you are in charge of your life? You are in charge – okay! You can make choices, and it’s time to choose something stimulating and worthwhile.
Secondly, start small. If you’re used to ‘not being bothered’ a whole day of stimulating activity might seem daunting and exhausting. Choose a fresh, unusual activity to try, maybe for an hour or two. Set yourself the challenge of doing something different every day, however small. Soon your interest in life will be revived, you will feel in command – and who knows where that might lead!
YOU FEEL LISTLESS AND YOU CAN’T ENGAGE
Possibly there’s nothing much wrong with life. Your job is fine, and reasonably interesting. You don’t lack for special people in your life and you realise you have plenty of choices. Sadly, none of this seems attractive, and you’re bored anyway.
If this is the case, then maybe ‘boredom’ isn’t the problem. It may be more accurate to say that you are depressed. Something has taken away your zest for life, or deprived it of meaning, and you need to start by asking yourself some questions.
Depression often arises from some emotion that’s been repressed, such as anger or fear. The mind cannot repress feelings selectively – push one down and they all disappear. Be honest, who or what are you unhappy with? What feeling is so unacceptable that you’ve decided, subconsciously, not to experience it?
Possibly you have the job of your dreams and you do not want to admit to yourself that actually you were mistaken, and it’s not what you want to do after all. Possibly you aren’t happy in your relationship – this can be harder when there’s nothing obviously wrong, but you just aren’t fulfilled. Maybe you’ve experienced a loss, and you haven’t grieved fully for this.
There could be many reasons for your lack of motivation, and finding your way out of this could be a quest. A little self-analysis, some counseling or therapy could help. Meanwhile, our helpful Readers are always on hand and a call to us can set you on your way to an interesting life once more.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We have looked at how to cope if it seems you’re on a treadmill, if your life is empty or when it’s something within you that makes you unable to engage. If you are truly bored you may be experiencing a bit of all three. To move on from this you need to become empowered. You can take hold of your life and feel fulfilled and uplifted. Start the process of positive change by phoning one of our skilled, inspiring Readers, without delay.