Alumni Stories

Boredom – An Opportunity for Growth

A search in Google, the boredom is defined as a state of feeling weary and impatient because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity. It points to two main things. One is about being unoccupied and another is lack of interest in the present activity.

When one is set into a state of boredom, what goes in one’s mind?  In most cases, an immediate rush to find an activity that can boost up. There are more than one ways available to get away from boredom. Many reach out to the phones to connect to friends through a social network or browsing the internet aimlessly or moving into some leisure activities or slipping into a cozy bed to watch a movie on the TV or asleep or taking up a work, which may not require immediate attention. We do anything to avoid that weary feeling. A constant attempt to sedate our mind to be in a state of good feeling. Very less percentage of people, do nothing, but to relax or think, which most consider as unpleasant.

The boredom may be a result of our own planning of the day or the result of exhaustive and continued work completion. As we get out of the bed in the morning, we set ourselves on a roller coaster. The speed and direction are determined by it. We follow as the day dictates us.  It may be at home or at school or in the workplace. It adds more when I miss the first activity as planned. A cascading effect to have chain reshuffle all other activities queued in. Sometimes, a distraction in between can put you to reprioritize these activities. Not all these never brings in any involvement to do anything with focus and interest. That leads to boredom, which is self-created. Even, if everything went as per plan right, there are situations in which we are pushed into boredom with no other options available to switch to appease.

The bottom line is boredom is part of our life. Are we missing something by avoiding boredom? When you are bored, the mind wanders, as it is a natural phenomenon. The mind is not focused on anything. It is proven with research that this mind wandering is useful for creativity. Those remained in the boredom created better creative solutions than those avoided or less bored people. The paradox of boredom is it makes you feel tired, sluggish, and disinterested. But, it may spur you to do some actions that may be positive to one’s life.

 

In the absence of boredom, one may be trapped in unfulfilling situations and miss out on the emotionally, cognitively and socially rewarding situations. Boredom acts as a barometer to tell us that we are not doing what is actually good for us. It forces us to switch goals and work that can be more useful.  Temporarily, boredom can make you altruistic. Pushing to think about what is happening to our life. That paves a way to find a purpose in helping others. More such people donate themselves for a charity supporting social causes. Donating blood becomes one of the opportunities, which adds more value to others.

External stimuli keep us constantly occupied for our existence that keeps triggering our thoughts and actions thereto. An engagement without any control. Such a state is not good. When the brain is constantly engaged, where is the time to think about one’s own life? Does boredom become important in that case? Yes, it is to get a big picture of our lives and to shape it. Then, voluntarily putting ourselves into boredom becomes very important, if as a chance does not happen.

One should look deep into what goes in the mind at that time when you feel bored. An opportunity to connect with the inner self. Being in the state of mindfulness allows us to be on our own even there is nothing much to do at that time. Mindfulness is a state of being consciously aware of what is going on around inside and outside of us. Such awareness keeps us undisturbed wherever we are, without entering into a state of boredom.

 

Even, if you happen to enter into that state of boredom, you can do some of these things to elevate. Focus on your breath. Experience the air going in and out. After a couple of times doing this, there will be inner calmness.

In addition, you will find to hear sounds that were masked earlier by the inner noise of our thoughts. This may be the soothing sound of the birds around. Even, the fragrance of that place brings in pleasantness. This will bring in awareness of the surrounding and yourself. That calmness can be extended as long as you want. Now, one need not look for external things to elevate the good feeling and calmness. There comes the clarity in the mind to think better.

Boredom is the state of an opportunity for one’s betterment both for health and for personal growth. Next time, when you find yourself bored, consider that you have found a key to your life for growth.

( This article is shared by Ramesh Kuppuswamy, alumnus from the batch of  EEP 2008)