According to research, the American people are the most unhappy they have been in the past 50 years. But does that fact really come as a surprise to anyone? According to reports, more and more people are finding themselves hot-headed or just plain bored. How is it that the most fortunate, powerful nation in the world turns out to be one of the most depressed and discontent?
Maybe it’s because of COVID-19. Or maybe it’s due to the unrest caused by the riots and protests. Certainly, the economic and financial downturn has played a key role in the American people’s sour disposition. Whatever the cause, it’s evident that boredom is a big-time pandemic all on its own.
There is no denying that reality is at an all-time low. Life could be better. On top of everything else, emotions such as loneliness, uncertainty, anxiety, and anger are piling on society. Moreover, given that our cultural relies heavily on external stimulation and instant gratification many people are dealing with anger, frustration, irritability, and boredom.
On thing is for certain, the pandemic has highlighted the American people’s reliance on the external rather than the internal. Thanks to our constant need for entertainment, people are plagued by boredom because they are not being endlessly engaged. However, down time or free space doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, when taken advantage of it can be very freeing and healing.
4 ways to re-envision boredom
1.) Appreciate the ‘Art of Doing Nothing’
The American life is all about go, go, go and do, do, do. So much so, many people often fail to stop and take notice of life. This has lead many people to find themselves unable to sit and do absolutely nothing. However, the art of doing nothing is healthy. In fact, it is especially helpful at preventing burnout.
The definition of ‘boring’ is finding something tedious or uninteresting, so the first way to look at boredom through a new lens is to shift your mindset. Instead of saying, “I am stuck at home with nothing to do” say, “I am doing nothing right now, but doing nothing feels good.”
2.) Breathe With Purpose
It’s always a good idea to pause and take notice of your breath. It helps you be where you are and at the same time takes the attention off the circumstances of your reality.
3.) Take Notice of Your Body
The third step in dealing with boredom is becoming aware of your existence. This could entail closing your eyes, taking notice of your breathing, taking note of your heart beat, emptying your mind, and feeling your worries melt away.
4.) Express Gratitude
I hate to say it, but society has consistently become less thankful over the years. If you don’t believe me, go to a local store, restaurant, or coffee shop and hold the door open for people. You will be shocked by how many people walk past you without a simple ‘thank you.’ This is because our society has become more narcissistic, entitled, and self-absorbed.
Having said that, I believe if people learn to slow down, take the focus off of themselves, and show appreciation for the little things in life, we will see our nation regain its happiness.
5.) Engage in a Hobby or Passion
I know the title of the article says, “4 Ways to Reimagine Boredom;” however, I am feeling particularly generous today, so here is a fifth tip free of charge.
Be productive with your free-time. For me, that means exercising, reading, writing, cooking, playing video games, and playing baseball with a group of guys from my community. Whatever you are passionate about or find yourself interested in, take the opportunity that your down time has given you and make the most of it.
Your time is one of your most valuable assets yet it is one of your most limited. Don’t waste it with being bored.
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Well + Good
Mary Grace Garis
June 30, 2020