The Beauty in Boredom


I read an article on Psychology today that talked about boredom, it’s definition and affects. Oddly enough I had the definition all wrong. Boredom to me had always been just a feeling of having nothing to do, nothing around that was interesting. And that is it in part, but in the article it is defined as a state of listlessness or torpor (new word) that is related to melancholy. A deeply unpleasant state of “unmet arousal.”

To me that sounds more like being restless…having all that energy and having no where to place it. That place where you want to do something, anything, but not knowing what or being able.  We usually try to avoid boredom because it is unpleasant.  I remember being a child and complaining about being bored during summer vacation because there we nothing to do, to which my mother quickly replied “bored people are boring.” Or “intelligent people are rarely bored.”

At first these statements seem like a witty response, but maybe there is more truth to them than wit. Boredom is part of the human condition. Never has a single person on earth never experienced boredom.  So why fight it? Why not find the good in it and use it. Just how would that happen? We try to avoid boredom by way of stimulation. But there is a difference between stimulation and …….Why not instead, peer inside ourselves to cure boredom? Instead of going outside of a situation to find stimulation, like a video game, why not be present in the moment?

Get out of your phone, your game, or little world and look around a bit. Notice who and what is around you instead. Notice the air around you, notice all the little things that you would normally gloss over in your search for everything to strike your nerves at once. Embrace the non stimulation, the slow down, the peace and quiet in the boredom. But this can be a dangerous thing. Sometimes the tranquility of the quiet can make ones demons or unsorted baggage come to the surface. Go ahead and deal with them, and all, you’re bored right? What else do you have to do?

Once we look inside, once we become present and notice the world around us, magically the boredom disappears. So take a deep breath and embrace the boredom. As counterintuitive as it may sound, by the very act of embracing boredom we no longer suffer from it. We can take the time to look inside and begin to let go of what is holding us back. Ultimately that will bring us Peace and I have often said that which gives us Peace also gives us happiness.

Samuel Johnson once said, “It is by studying the little things that we attain the art of having as little misery, and as much happiness, as possible.”

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