Mental Health

Rethink Boredom: Why Is It Good For You

The result of inevitable circumstances, boredom is an emotion that most of us encounter every day. But what if we told you that when done right, it could lead to more effective outputs?

By Adarsh Soni
14 May 2021

Boredom improves your mental health
In this day and age, our brains are struggling to manage the influx of information they are flooded with. We are constantly thinking, which might later affect our attention span as our thought process utilises cognitive resources to function. In other words, taking a break can be the perfect time for your brain to retreat and prepare itself for future tasks. “Sometimes an overworked field has to be left fallow, as that period allows the soil to replenish and makes it ready for the next season. Similarly, with an overworked mind, we run the risk of burnout and mental fatigue,” says Dr Aparna Samuel Balasundaram, an award-winning psychotherapist and TEDx speaker based in Austin, Texas, USA.

Boredom aids creativity
We all go through creative blocks once in a while and instead of forcing yourself to be productive, use that time to think and self reflect. Daydreaming can be a very pleasant side effect of boredom which can often stimulate your creativity and help you come up with interesting ideas. “We need to be intentional about cutting back, allowing mental spaces where we are not actively pursuing a goal. That allows the mind to clear up and creates a space for rejuvenation. This sparks creativity and allows innovative out-of-the-box thinking,” Balasundaram adds.

Boredom teaches you self-control
Since boredom is inherently related to our ability to focus and pay attention to things, it also leads our brain to decide what’s interesting and what’s not. Learning how to control this from a young age can improve our self-regulation skills and also direct our thoughts and later actions in the pursuit of achieving both long and short-term goals.

Feeling uninspired? Get bored.
A research paper by Dr Benjamin Baird from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, California states that when our minds wander aimlessly, we are more likely to think about our future. A process called ‘autobiographical planning’ leads people to plan and anticipate big future changes while they’re daydreaming. After all, gravity wouldn’t have been discovered if Sir Isaac Newton wasn’t procrastinating under an apple tree.

But do it the right way
According to a study by UK-based psychologist Sandi Mann, it’s important not to confuse boredom with relaxation. If you want to truly be bored, you must engage in tasks that don’t require concentration. Think taking a long walk or sitting still with no music to distract you, instead of activities like meditation or binge-watching a Netflix series for instance.
So if you ever find yourself sitting at home, wondering what to do—do nothing! Embrace boredom and let it inspire your next great idea.


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