When I have completed all of my homework and other tasks, I fill my free time by scrolling through TikTok, watching YouTube videos or trying to hang out with my friends. By keeping my mind constantly occupied, I endeavor to avoid boredom.
Some may see my refusal to feel bored as an accomplishment. However, I have come to understand that boredom has its benefits and is essential for my well-being.
While constantly feeling bored can feel frustrating and uninspiring, allowing oneself to be bored in small intervals can boost creativity or even give the mind a break. It is crucial to understand the benefits of boredom, rather than viewing it as a useless waste of time.
Firstly, these days where we have constant access to all kinds of media, taking a break can prevent our brains from being overloaded with information. If someone spends hours doing their homework and then goes straight to watching YouTube, they are not giving themselves a chance to slow down. If someone’s brain becomes too overloaded, they can become very stressed.
Furthermore, one major upside to boredom is that it can inspire creativity. An article published in the Academy of Management Discoveries has shown that after people completed a boredom-inducing activity, they performed better on an idea-generating task than those who did a more interesting activity. From this study, it is clear that we can develop an understanding of boredom as a creative outlet instead of just a waste of time.
A clear example of how boredom can foster creative ideas is evident with the Instagram user @showerthoughtsz. Whether or not the ideas in the posts were actually thought of in the shower does not take away from the message that boring activities, such as showering, can lead to very creative thoughts.
While occasional boredom in between activities can be beneficial, it is important to remember that apathetic boredom may represent some more deep-seated issues. Those who struggle with feelings of helplessness may experience apathetic boredom that results in feeling trapped and unable to change their current circumstances. If you feel that you’re struggling with apathetic boredom, it may be useful to talk about it with a trusted friend, family member, teacher or professional.
Some people may argue that allowing themselves to be bored takes away from time they could spend pursuing hobbies or work. While I agree that choosing to be bored for a prolonged amount of time can take away from life experiences, jumping from activity to activity presents its own set of issues. Life needs to be balanced. It is possible to explore interests and see your friends while also giving your brain a break from time to time.
Taking the time to be bored should be viewed as a form of self-care. In today’s world, there is a constant emphasis on taking care of one’s mental and physical health, but most resources never directly emphasize the importance of occasional boredom. While reading a book or watching your favorite show is a great way to take care of yourself, letting the mind rest without any distractions should be valued, too.
It is understandable that choosing to be bored can be a daunting task, since boredom has such a negative connotation. In order for boredom to have a better reputation, it is up to us to destigmatize it. Instead of constantly complaining how bored you are, think about how this time can be used to boost creativity or just relax. Tell your friends about how sitting outside doing nothing calms your mind.
Finding the benefits of boredom may take some time and dedication for those who aren’t used to choosing to be bored. However, it is crucial to remember that there is nothing lazy or shameful about boredom. Use those “boring” times to become a better version of yourself.
Mishaal Ijaz SC ’24 is from San Diego, CA. She enjoys relaxing after a long day of classes.