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Chronic Boredom, Bored is as Boring Does: How to Turn Unfruitfulness into a Hopefilled and Fruitful Life.
Boredom is as boredom does: Nothing at all.
So many wrong roads have been taking because of it. Billions of gossipers thrive on it. Millions of overweight people eat due to it; and some experience depression from chronic boredom. It’s definitely no laughing matter, literally.
Merriam Webster’s defines boredom as “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest“; nothing to do and nowhere to go. Everything just seems like more of the same endless routine; a huge mind numbing blah. The world is filled with fascinating people doing exciting things while we sit and sour. These feelings brew into bitterness, sadness, want, or worse. H.G. Bohn wrote that “an idle brain is the devil's workshop" (Hand-Book of Proverbs , 1855). Our hearts and minds dream up schemes to get a little pleasure, somehow...
There are so many good things that can come from boredom if handle right. Especially if we plan ahead for days when we need positive activities to fill our down time.
People who are bored may turn to filling unfruitful time with unhelpful adventures. Some take foolish risks to avoid the desperate and lonely feelings of boredom; dusting off ‘little black books’ filled with old boyfriend/girlfriend numbers. These past failed relationships begin to seem promising when we have nothing to do. Here comes trouble! Right out of sock drawer hide-aways, links to the past we should have left behind. Others may go on budget busting shopping sprees, and some stuff away the uncomfortable feelings with the temporary pleasure of over eating.
So what do we do, is there a cure for boredom?
Yes of course there are things we can do. We all know the answer. It is so simple that we often miss it. Well meaning ‘experts’ and friends remind us of what we already know. It can feel condescending and insulting when they say, “you should… ‘Get a hobby’, ride a bike, take a walk, eat some celery sticks, read a book”. Thank you for the creative suggestions , they are profound and helpful. Yet still there remains millions and millions of bored people scheming.
Here are five suggestions to get you started. They just might help someone suffering with boredom avoid the pitfalls that come from the idleness of mind:
1) Start counting . Research such as the University of California, Davis Gratitude and Thankfulness project have proven that people with a sense of gratefulness, or those who are mindful of their blessings are generally happier people. Increasing a sense of happiness and well being can help tremendously in combating the dissatisfaction that comes from boredom.
2) Look at the obvious and create . You may not need something ‘new’ to do, but something old and unfinished. Did you once dream of researching your ancestry, writing your memoirs, composing a song, starting a photo album, increasing your flexibility (when was the last time you were able to do the splits ?) Do something that you wanted to do but didn’t. Work to accomplish something of personal value.
3) Get some friends. Believe it or not there are places where people are just friends and nothing more if that is their choice. Try a small group at your local church. This is the place where people get together in the church or at small groups in homes around your city. These are spiritually centered, free, fun, and friendly places for fellowship. You’ll meet other like-minded people who just might be your new best friends. This can open up many possibilities to increase activities and even people to enjoy them with.
4) Get organized . Time to make out a weekly calendar that includes a handful of new things as well as a few of the regular ‘boring’ ones. Getting organized is an activity that can increase hope and anticipation for the future. This will require checking out a search engine like Google or Bing for Friday and Saturday night Christian concerts, events or church services, new gallery openings, or even lectures at a local college campus or bookstore. Schedule these along with your regular clothes washing, mowing the lawn, and car oil changes. IMPORTANT NOTE: Always include a plan ‘B’ in case your plans don’t work as expected, don’t let missed plans become a source of discouragement and ‘boredom’ (i.e. miss the concert? Plan 'B' a DVD you’ve been interested in watching).
5) Listen to music. Not just any music, try something new, lively, and fresh. Maybe bluegrass gospel, classical, jazz, Swahili acapella choral, old show tunes, or other positive thought provoking sounds. Youtube, ITunes, Real, and other music sites allow you to sample songs for free. Listen to the changes, swirls, highs and depths of it. Get your mind moving and your toe tapping. Please, don’t just sit there, dance! If you can’t dance, conduct the orchestra. Get that hairbrush out sing, shout, and shimmy.
Lastly, if you notice all of these are basically free so there is really no excuse for inaction. They can also be modified and tailored for use by those with special needs. Boredom does not have to become chronic and paralyzing. It doesn't require extreme changes to your life. It basically starts with seeing things from a new perspective, paying attention to the blessings already within your reach. The uncomfortable feelings of boredom or in the case of chronic boredom, desperation and loneliness can be positively affected by a slight change in perspective.
Boredom is a springboard for change, an open door to brand new experiences when handled well. Our minds do not have to be used as play things if our hands and hearts are busy with the resources right here at our fingertips. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be" , so make up your mind to have some fun!
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)