Feeling Bored? Science Says It’s Good For You

Feeling Bored

Benefits Of Being Bored

When was the last time you were sitting idle doing nothing and getting bored? For all the amazing ways our smartphones have given us easy access to entertainment and made our lives easier with great connectivity and information, they have also added a whole lot of distraction and unnecessary sensory overload.

BoredomWe shudder at the thought of being idle, we are always doing something. Be it our work or catching up with friends or consuming some kind of information or some type of entertainment.

We are going to be traveling to some low connectivity zone? Better download and keep some movies offline. Getting bored standing in the queue? Let’s surf social media sites. We are always on the go, so much so that we don’t give ourselves a break even when we are trying to relax. We will do anything to escape the drudgery from our everyday life.

We feel that we are on the war with this demon of boredom and any time spent without distraction or entertainment signifies a complete waste of time.

What we miss out on realizing is that our bodies are not cut out to be on the go always. The constant engagement caused by digital connectivity has severe repercussions.

The negative effects on our bodies that are caused by always overloading our sensory nerves are talked about time and again, but today, I’ll be talking about the positive side of being bored. How sometimes sitting idle and letting yourself being bored can be a good thing for you.

Scientists have a newfound interest in boredom (all hail the paradox of this situation) and they have linked being bored to a number of positive effects on our body.

But before we jump into the pool of positive waves, let’s first understand what it means to be bored?

Though boredom may seem like a 21st-century phenomenon, a result of unplugging ourselves from digital madness, it has actually been a part of human emotions and lives since the time immemorial. It is documented in Christian tradition as a noonday demon. In the most simple sense, boredom is the frustrating feeling that we experience as a result of not being able to engage in a satisfying activity. Meaning a bored human is not able to engage oneself in either internal or external factors needed to produce a satisfying activity. 

So although being bored does sound like a very interesting experience, it has various interesting (read positive)  effects on your mind and body.

1)   It gives your creative enzymes a burst

creativityWhat? sitting idle and doing nothing can make me more creative? Sounds too bizarre right? Well, research suggests that being bored can lead us to have some of our most original thoughts.

A study conducted by Sandi Mann has linked being bored to an increased in your creativity level. They gave the participants various boring tasks to complete first and then made them take the standard test of divergent thinking (number of ways to use the cup).

It was found that the participants with the most boring tasks cane up with the most interesting ways of using the cups.

The explanation given was that being bored helps your mind wander off and the bridge between getting bored and daydreaming is what enfolds the creative chain of thoughts.

So as we found out, being bored (in moderation of course) and doing mildly boring tasks can actually make you have creative and interesting thoughts.

2)   It lets you know what you are missing out on.

thinking deepA psychology article written by Andreas Elpidorou that cites numerous studies states that boredom acts as a regulatory mechanism that keeps us in line with our projects. When we are not constantly distracting ourselves and allow our minds to think, we realize what needs to be done. When we are being constantly engaged in things and overloading our senses, we miss out on many cognitively rewarding experiences.

3)   It makes you goal-oriented

goal-orientedAnother surprisingly major benefit of going on a sensory detox is that it gives you time to think about yourself and your future.

A paper by benjamin Bairdal, Jonathan Small Woods, and Jonathan W Schooler on Autobiographical planning and the functionality of mind-wandering stated that when people’s minds wander off, they are more likely to think about the future and their goals.

The paper talked about “autobiographical planning,” a process in which people frequently plan their future goals while daydreaming. It helps you organize your tasks and keeps it aligned with your goals.

When you’re bored and find no real interest and motivation in your life, you seek new goals and tasks as a way to feel complete and good about yourself.

4)   It makes you a good human

good humanAccording to researchers from Ireland, when we are bored, we start lacking perceived meaning in our activities, this makes us look for activities that can give our lives a new meaning.

Researches found that boredom made people engage in activities that are prosocial like blood donation or charity, as a way to re-establish the meaning of life and oneself.

5)     You can cultivate mindfulness

cultivate mindfulnessThe essence of mindfulness lies in doing nothing. When you are not engaged in any activity, you are completely living in the present moment. You are aware of your better and analyze your current situation in a much better manner. This helps you in understanding yourself in life. Being mindful of your situation can help you overcome the problem in a much more efficient way.  There are numerous health benefits of mindfulness.

6)   It can actually help you with relaxing your mind.

boredomBeing bored can be therapeutic. The constant engagement of our minds in this digital world can be overpowering.

We are constantly feeding our minds with some forms of information, this can actually be extremely stressful and sometimes even cause us to burn out.

Detoxing yourselves from this overwhelming sensory overdose and letting your mind relax and unwind can have great positive effects on your brain.

As humans, we are not programmed to always be active, so we should stop looking for a constant form of activity that excites us, we need to learn to embrace the boredom as a very essential part of life.

So sit back and relax, because sometimes doing nothing can actually do good things for you.

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