"All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow." - Grant Wood
Boredom would come easily to us in our days of youth. The perfect opportunity presented itself during long breaks from school in the gift of less obligations and plenty of time daydreaming while staring out a window. As we get older, we become less open to boredom, believing it a sign of wasted time or perhaps an unwelcome opportunity to look within.
How many of us instinctively reach for the phone when we feel bored, feeling maybe a little lonely, or awkward without something for the hands to do? Everytime I step in an elevator or get on the checkout line, I always notice others instinctively and immediately pulling out phones and tapping away. There's no basking in the dullness of the moment which can serve as a little break for the brain.
There is value in boredom and allowing the brain to slow down and wander. Studies show it helps foster creativity and self-reflection. Boredom has always been a part of life and allows us to contemplate all the minutiae of existence. When was the last time you experienced the physical and mental stillness of boredom?
There are opportunities abound:
- Sitting on a train, plane or in traffic
- Waiting for an appointment
- Doing mundane chores like the dishes or laundry
- Walking the dog
All you have to do is give the brain silence and let it do its thing. Just turn off the devices and speakers and allow the brain to explore the nothingness. Delight in the mundane thoughts and feelings that greet you. Boredom may not be easy and, for many, unpleasant at first. We've all grown accustomed to constant stimulation but welcoming boredom can help generate new ideas, break bad habits that come about from being unable to cope with boredom and even help to reset your mental state.
Will you make time to get bored?