Have you heard that boredom is good for you?
Not only does boredom improve mental health, it also opens up space for creativity and self-compassion. And in these challenging days we’re living in, boredom can be a way for you to step back from all the noise.
In the 21st century though, boredom has almost been eradicated.
Think about it: when you have nothing to do, what do you usually end up doing? Or is there ever even a time when you have nothing to do?
Maybe it even seems like something to celebrate, that boredom is a thing of the past.
Even though boredom is good, you might hate the thought of it.
If so, you’re not alone. I’ve known quite a few women who dislike the word, and particularly the prospect of either feeling bored or being perceived as being boring.
Sometimes that stems from early life experiences and deep seated beliefs we’ve adopted to protect ourselves from being judged or criticized.
So if it’s difficult to consider that boredom is good, or if the thought of being bored provokes too much discomfort for you, be gentle with yourself.
However, you may want to leave room to consider it’s actually a kind of elixir.
This is especially true where information overload is concerned. Boredom is particularly good for you when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the onslaught of information that gets pushed your way each day.
Because the thing is, information overload depletes your creative wisdom. And strangely enough, the antidote might just be boredom.
In fact, boredom might be like catnip for your creative wisdom.
When you step away from the distractions and give yourself space to be bored a door opens within you. Imagination and creative wisdom are on the other side of it. They eventually kick in because we can only tolerate the boredom for so long.
So there’s something about being still and letting yourself get a little uncomfortable that’s important here. Because in that in-between space is the potential for insight and healing, where you might see things you couldn’t see before.
But first you have to allow the discomfort to open you up to the paradox of boredom.
One of the reasons boredom is good for you is because in its emptiness there’s a unique form of fullness too. And in that paradoxical space, you somehow find your way back to yourself, sometimes quickly and surprisingly.
You reconnect to your sense of belonging to a deeper life, a deeper self-knowing.
Sometimes, there are even aha moments and epiphanies to be had.
So boredom is definitely not a problem to be fixed.
As I write this I realize I’m rambling a bit because it’s hard to explain the benefits of boredom. In fact, I’m probably boring you right now. Or maybe I’m simply priming you for your own insights? (No need to thank me!)
Actually my own recent experiences with boredom have been a little different, probably because of the times we’re living in. They’ve taken me back to both old memories and fresh memories, sometimes difficult. Times of moving between sorrow and hope, grief and gratitude.
Initially they feel challenging, but then as I sit with the discomfort the memories begin to transform, peeling themselves away to reveal other layers of truth or experiences that I’ve either forgotten or perhaps never seen before. Still, I sense deep within me that this new form boredom is good.
All this talk of boredom reminds me of a quote that’s been playing in my head lately…
My memory is the library of my experience. I will read there often.
This quote has been with me for years. I have no idea who said it or where I first saw it.
But it’s a little bit like what happens in therapy, reading in the library of our experiences.
Memories, feelings and behaviors are explored and peeled away. New memories are seeded from the experiences we have together in the therapy session.
I never thought of therapy as being boring though.
Of course, it is one of those rare spaces of quiet where we stop the doing for a time and go inward.
But you don’t have to be in therapy to experience this.
In fact, you can try it right now by inviting some boredom into your life and reading in the library of your experiences.
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Or maybe it’s about the wonderful things that may happen if you break the ropes that are holding you.