Exploring Boredom

As I’m sure everyone has experienced, this past year has had it’s many ups and downs. I’ve constantly found myself bored out of my mind, especially when quarantine first began, and it is something that I and all of us will have to deal with our whole lives. Getting bored is completely natural. We look for things in our lives to excite us, challenge us, and make the time pass quicker, but as always with any high, there is a low that will come. When that fun activity is over you will find yourself getting bored. It’s similar to how after exercising, you get tired from all your exertion. In a New York Times article titled “Harnessing Boredom in the Age of Coronavirus,” Elan Cohen discusses boredom and that we should embrace it rather than avoid it. He talks about how we like to avoid boredom at all costs, but that sometimes the best things in life can come out of boredom. While I read the article it made me think that some of my best ideas have come to me while I was bored and that I’ve had amazing experiences all stemming from boredom. When I let my own mind wander and have the ideas flow, it leads to me no longer being bored, but entertaining my own mind such as how Cohen suggests we can take control of the best parts of our brain including our creativity, memories, thoughts, etc, when we let ourselves get bored. I think that from here on out I will work on helping myself get bored rather than running from place to place in my mind to keep it occupied. If we all let ourselves embrace the boredom from time to time, not only will it allow our brains a chance to relax and rest, but we will find beauty in things we had never experienced before.

That may seem familiar if you have been reading my past posts. I wrote that about a month ago but this week I feel like I should did a little deeper into the subject. Having another month to think about this, I’ve found that boredom is very beneficial to us. In my experience, meditation is a form of boredom but helps me greatly. When I relax or take a break from work or school, focusing on what is going on in the moment and letting myself calm down gets boring fast but I also feel great afterward.

For me, especially this past week, I have had no free time whatsoever to enjoy myself or have fun, but I still get bored with the repetitive tasks I have to do. Even when we aren’t conscious, I think that we get bored. I dream quite often and to me it seems like it happens whenever I “get bored” of sleeping so I come up with fun scenarios of complete nonsense in my head in order to escape the world. I feel like there is a reason that our brains have been formed to allow us to get bored so that not only can we embrace it and use boredom to our advantage but it also helps us to appreciate the exciting parts of life more fully. My cousin has gotten a degree in Nuclear Engineering from Berkeley and he always says that he lives his life to avoid boredom, even if what he ends up doing wouldn’t be his first choice. To me, nuclear engineering sounds boring, even if it is an amazing feat. He runs from boredom and doesn’t really have the chance to find himself in those quiet moments. That mindset, although it can lead to great accomplishments, isn’t the best idea because it will cause you to become exhausted and never have a chance for a break. If you avoid boredom, you will miss out on so many cool inner moments to yourself.

In conclusion, I think that boredom, whether you choose to embrace it or hide from it, is an amazing driving force for us. If we choose to embrace our boredom whenever possible, we will find secrets about ourselves that we may not have known before through our quiet reflections. In the future personally, I will search out for those moments of boredom and once I recognize them, rather than trying to run from them, I will embrace them and see where those moments lead.

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