The lost art of being bored

House with geometric pattern I remember as a child feeling bored a lot. Time seemed to tick by very slowly and there just didn’t seem to be enough to do to fill the day.

These days I feel the opposite is true. Admittedly, I have a far fuller life with a child, job, home and a husband. However, I can’t remember the last time I actually felt bored, which is ridiculous when you consider I commute four days a week and spend most evenings at home.

Why would I feel bored? I have an iPhone providing a constant stream of entertainment. I love listening to podcasts, looking at Instagram, Facebook, reading newspapers, Twitter.. you name it. I don’t want to badmouth social media and podcasts because what I gain, far outweighs the bad. I just know that I’m reaching for my phone instead of sitting with my thoughts instead.

Why is being bored good for us?

As much as it pains the younger me to admit it, boredom does bring benefits.

  • It aids our concentration. Unless I put my phone or iPad out of reach, I will be 10 minutes into a film and realise I am scrolling through my twitter feed. How is it possible to really determine whether or not you are enjoying something when your mind is so easily distracted?
  • Notice details in the everyday.  I have a really beautiful commute home. My train stops at Blackfriars station when the sun is setting over the London Eye and I have a bird’s eye view from the train. Rather embarrassingly, it took me at least two months to notice, but now I consciously make sure I drink in that view.
  • Focuses our mind. It’s so easy to put difficult problems to one side with the hope that if we ignore them, they go away. I believe you have to deal with things when you’re in the right headspace, however, you have to create the right environment for that to take place.
  • Time for reflection. A less busy mind gives us time to really think about what’s happened during the day/week/month/year. We can deal with our problems and then move on.
  • Aids sleep. We don’t give ourselves the time to process what happened during the day and then we’re surprised when our minds start racing when our heads hit the pillow.
  • Encourages creativity. By being more available, we’re opening ourselves up to new thoughts and ideas. I have my best ideas in those ‘in between’ times when I’m not really doing anything.
  • Let’s us listen to our intuition. Less distractions enable us to hear that little voice inside giving us clarity on the right choices and pathways. It’s worth having moments of boredom for that alone.

The access we have to information is incredible and such a power for good. However, it requires balance. This is just one of the reasons why I now Switch off Sunday

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