How to Fight Boredom: Five Strategies
Are you bored?
The world is eaten up by boredom.... You can’t see it all at once. It is like dust. You go about and never notice, you breathe it in; you eat and drink it. It is sifted so fine, it doesn’t even grit on your teeth. But stand still for an instant and there it is, coating your face and hands. To shake off this drizzle of ashes you must be forever on the go. And so people are always “on the go.”
GEORGES BERNANOS, The Diary of a Country Priest
Do you often feel tired and listless? Are you having trouble maintaining interest or focusing on things? Do you find your life to be tedious and lacking stimulation? Are you frequently tired, or perhaps you are restless and irritable? These are symptoms of boredom. Before you make an appointment with your doctor to find out why you’re always tired and sluggish, ask yourself this question: “Am I bored?”
If you are bored, you’re certainly not alone. Everyone experiences boredom at one time or another. It has been suggested that more than half the United States work force is bored at or with their jobs. A study of high school students indicated that over 85% were bored with school and homework. Many believe the term “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for divorce is a fancy term for boredom. Whatever the causes, it seems no aspect of our lives is spared from the effects of ennui.
Why do people get bored? There is no single answer to this question. Some believe we have a physical as well as a psychological need for interaction with others, and boredom results when this need is not met. Many are convinced the routines that life imposes on us lack sufficient variety and stimulation to maintain our interest, especially if the patterns remain unchanged for months or years. Some simply feel their activities lack meaning. It is difficult to focus on something pointless. There are as myriad causes for boredom, and the reasons we are bored might be different for each of us.
So, what can we do to combat it?
Read about boredom and with materials from Amazon.com
Strategies for fighting boredom
It is not necessary to surrender to boredom, and there are ways to fight feeling lethargic and uninterested. Like similar problems, it is first necessary to recognize that boredom is an undesirable state and want to do something about it. If you refuse to accept being bored, you will find ways to combat it. Listed below are several recommendations to help combat boredom.
Disrupt your routines. The most unusual of routines is still a routine. If you are stuck in a rut, interrupt the patterns of your life and find new ways to accomplish things. Shower in the evening instead of the morning. Prepare something for dinner you’ve never tried before, write poetry, enroll in adult education classes, or read a book in a genre you’ve never before considered. The variety will not only invigorate you, it will make your normal activities seem less tedious.
Be curious. Curiosity defeats boredom every time. Explore the latest technologies or develop new hobbies. Create “bucket lists” of things you wish to do and take action; if you are interested in skydiving, jump out of that airplane. Actively listen to others and learn from everyone. The things you will discover from listening will amaze you, and offering another person your attention is a wonderful gift that will always be appreciated.
Be creative. This is the method I most frequently choose to combat boredom. When I am bored, I write or draw. Creating something that did not exist previously engages me on physical, intellectual and emotional levels—it is extremely satisfying. I find it easier to draw than write when boredom sets in, but when I become involved in a drawing or painting, I am immersed in what I am doing. There is no room for boredom in my life when I am active as a writer or artist.
Concentrate on others. It is difficult to feel bored when you are focusing on someone or something outside yourself. Helping others is an outstanding way to shift your attention away from yourself. Working with children, the sick or elderly can be interesting and fulfilling. Many people select jobs or careers that focus on helping others, such as teachers and firefighters. Sending a letter or email to a friend or helping a neighbor rake fallen leaves will add zest to your day and brighten someone else’s, as well.
Search for meaning. Finding purpose in our actions empowers us. Not even the most trivial of tasks will seem boring for long if we recognize their true importance. The search for meaning can be a difficult path that leads in many directions. Some find answers through connecting with family, with friends or with God. Others find purpose in selfless acts, devoting time to public service or charitable works. Embrace the meaning in your life, wherever it may be found.
It's a magical world
Boredom is endemic in our society. We plod through our days at work and mindlessly tend to chores at home. In what remains of our free time we sit in front of a television or computer and experience life vicariously. Why travel to France when we can tune in the Travel Channel or Google it? We don’t even need to wonder what’s for Sunday dinner—it must be beef today because chicken was last week.
It doesn’t have to be this way, however. After all, what we focus upon determines how we feel, and there is far too much to see and experience for anyone to go through life suffering from boredom! Take action now and awaken within yourself the zest for living that you deserve. Have fun—allow yourself to be crazy and unpredictable. Shift your attention from yourself and look for opportunities to give to others. Ask questions and search for meaningful answers. Show a child how to solve a problem or help an elderly man or woman with grocery bags. These experiences will demonstrate the joys and passions life offers to everyone every day. When you realize your passion and share it with others, boredom will be replaced by exaltation and you will be transformed.
Take care and be happy.
Read more articles by this author about living well
- Twelve Strategies to Rediscover Your Joy for Learning
Children love to learn. They see the world as a magical place, filled with countless wonders to investigate with their full focus and attention. They want to understand everything. When they dont...
- How to Project Self-Confidence
Some people just have it made. They are voted most likely to succeed in school. They receive job offers in their field right after graduation from college and climb the corporate ladder with ease. ...
- How to Quickly Get People to Like You
Many people are naturally engaging and friendly. They are first to introduce themselves in a crowded room and are eager to turn acquaintances into friends. Their friendliness is usually reciprocated,...
- How to Listen Well to Others
I am always appreciative when something complimentary is said about me. On occasion I have been graciously referred to as intelligent, sensitive, and creative. (I confess Ive been called less...
- Recognizing and Combating Isolation
Years ago a television commercial showed us a small child asking his father what he made per hour in wages at his job. When the father asked why his son wanted to know, the boy told him he wanted to buy an...
- Twelve Things that can Disrupt Your Sleep
America has become a 24 hour society, and we are paying the price for the luxury of grocery shopping at 3:00 AM and working around the clock. The problem is so profound there are concerns that...
- How to Save Money (A Few Cents at a Time)
Many families in America and around the world have been forced to survive with fewer financial resources than they previously enjoyed. Although experts proclaim the economy is improving, many are still...
- Migraine Headaches, Yoga and Me
It began for me on a Monday evening. I finished dinner and prepared to relax for a few hours in front of the television. I noticed a pain in my forehead above the left eyebrow but tried to ignore it. A...
- How to Protect Yourself from Being Mugged
A mugger is someone who intends to rob you in a public place and may be prepared to use violence to do so. Also referred to as highway robbery, pick-pocketing or purse-snatching, mugging is an...
Take the boredom poll!
Do you suffer from boredom?See results without voting
Comments 75 comments
Read more about health and happiness with materials from Amazon.com
More by this Author
I was a small child lying in bed, drifting off toward sleep. The door to my room slowly opened, and I saw the silhouette of my sister in the doorway, her shadowy form illuminated from behind by a light in the hallway. ...
It began for me on a Monday evening. I finished dinner and prepared to relax for a few hours in front of the television. I noticed a pain in my forehead above the left eyebrow but tried to ignore it. A short time...
What happened to the NBA I used to know and love? During the 2009-2010 season, I watched the Washington Wizards play the Boston Celtics and witnessed an amazing spectacle: the Wizards failed to rebound during the entire...