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The benefits of boredom

By Summa Published: March 10, 2017

Rather than a feeling to be avoided, boredom (in moderation) should be embraced. The happy balance between chronic boredom and constant engagement can prove beneficial for our minds and even our careers.

1. It Will Help You Avoid Tech Addiction.

Technology has put an endless array of entertainment at our fingertips, but this comes at a price. Instead of being satisfied, we’re desensitized. Smartphone addiction can cause you to feel upset and anxious when you can’t check your phone, lead to imaginary cell phone vibrations, and distract you from the people and things that exist around you.

Spending too much time using technology and social media has been linked to depression, stress and anxiety, poor academic performance, and poor sleep. So when you have time to waste, try daydreaming or doodling instead.

2. Boredom Can Boost Creativity.

Boredom can bring on change, leading to better ideas, higher ambitions and greater opportunities.

Look at boredom as necessary rest for your brain that can leave your mind feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Giving yourself a break from constant stimulation allows it to take in new things and have new thoughts, which can boost creativity. So if you’re looking to get more creative, get bored: Psychologists have found that America is experiencing a creativity decline, with scores decreasing each year since 1990 (even while IQ increases)¹.

3. Discover New Hobbies & Interests.

Think of all the extra time, energy and brain-space you’ll have for new things when you stop trying to fill every moment of the day. If you use the extra energy you have when you’re bored to try a new activity, you’ll enjoy your time and learn something. Boredom encourages the pursuit of new goals when things no longer hold your interest.  

4. Doing Nothing Can Help You Feel Better.

Doing nothing is the essence of mindfulness, the practice of focusing awareness entirely on the present moment. When you are mindful, you pay close attention to just one thing. Research has found significant health benefits of mindfulness, including improved sleep, emotional stability and more success with weight-loss efforts2.

So next time you’re feeling bored, take a few moments to focus on the present. Your brain will thank you!

Patricia Galbraith ATR, LPCC-S, MA
Behavioral Specialist Partial Hospitalization Program
Summa Health




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