Remember those long holidays when you were a kid and eventually ended up getting bored of being at home? Or sitting as a passenger in the car and wondering when you will ever get there?
We have three children, and very often our youngest will come complain to Tania or I that she is bored and there is nothing to do. Our response is generally off you go, go find something to keep you busy or read a book. We purposefully create unstructured time within our lives for the children to learn to use their creativity. Science and research show that boredom is beneficial for children and fosters a sense of independence.
As an adult though, when last were you bored? I am sure that many of you might wish you had a little time to indulge in a childhood luxury like boredom (or going to bed early). Yet adults are always busy. We never have time to be bored because life is filled with important things. Pause for a moment and consider how you would genuinely feel if you were bored for an hour? Don’t read on until you have an answer for yourself.
Studies release early in 2017, show that the average adult spends 135 minutes a day on some form of Social Media. (The Statistics Portal – statista.com) That is 2 hours 15 minutes. Another source (socialmediatoday.com) claims that in your lifetime (if you are an average social media user) you will spend 5 years 4 months on social media. This excludes surfing the internet to browse websites. That is enough time to climb Mount Everest 32 times or walk the Great Wall of China 3.5 times.
So, if you are not bored maybe you should put away the phone, or whatever device you are reading this article on.
Now imagine for a moment that you do take a social media sabbatical. I want you to cast your mind back to when you were a young child, maybe staring at the rain from behind the window mumbling about how boring the day is. Imagine that there is nothing to do, absolutely nothing. Really connect with that feeling of having nothing to do and facing the dreaded boredom. How does that make you feel? Do you start to feel anxious about all the work or chores that you need to get done? Do you feel that you have better things to do than just sit around and be bored? Or, do you feel a huge weight lifted off you and you breath a sigh on relief and soak up in the joy of having absolutely nothing to do for the next 2 hours and 15 minutes? Do you feel different from what you thought you might feel when I asked you at the end of the 3rd paragraph of this article?
What could you learn about yourself if you stopped doing what you are automatically doing everyday and allow yourself to be bored? Do you think that you might rediscover an old hobby that you never have the time for, or start dreaming about starting that new activity that you had forgotten you once wanted to try out? Could it be that there are some monsters inside your head that you would rather not think about, so you just keep busy?
If you find that it has been years since you felt bored, then why not set aside some time for yourself to do nothing. Resist the temptation to read a book or to fold the laundry, resist the temptation to turn on the tv or to check your emails. Give yourself a few minutes and just ease into the state of boredom as if it is a nice deep hot bath filled with the most glorious smelling bubbles and relax.
For those of you who do manage to bore yourselves, please comment below and let me know how it went.