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It’s Ok to Be Bored. You Don’t Have to Be Busy All the Time.

It’s Ok to Be Bored. You Don’t Have to Be Busy All the Time.

It’s the same old scenario. You have a to-do list a mile long and no matter what you do, you can’t seem to tackle it. And you’re not alone.

Everywhere you turn, people are busy.

What happens when you call your family members? Busy.

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When you call your friends? Busy. Or maybe you don’t call them because you’re busy.

People tend to take some sort of secret pride in “busy-ness.” But what’s wrong with NOT being busy?

Plan to be bored sometimes instead. Sound crazy? Well, actually being bored could be a good thing.

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Why do people hate to be bored?

First, what exactly does it mean to be bored? Well, while boredom can mean many things to many people, the most basic of definitions is not being able to find an activity you enjoy — regardless of how much you want to. This is typically a result of routine. People are so used to going to their go-to method of entertainment, that when it’s out of reach — cell phones, tablets, watching tv, etc., — they feel boredom coming on. And they don’t like it.

Take a cue from a kid

You know why kids hate time out? Because they feel it’s boring! And the worse thing in life for a child is to be bored. But if you watch kids for a while, they’ll figure out how to entertain themselves just sitting in a corner. Magically, that string on their shirt becomes the greatest thing ever. Who knew?

As adults, wouldn’t you love a scheduled time out? What was a nightmare as a kid can be a dream come true for an adult. Taking the time NOT to think about the seven million things on your to-do list can actually do you some good.

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Stop being busy and embrace boredom

Ever notice we are really “busy” but aren’t necessarily doing anything extremely productive.

We click, scroll, snap, like — you name it, and then get annoyed when half the day has gone by and that big project for work isn’t finished. Being “busy” and having constant distractions can really stifle imagination.

You know what happens when you put down the devices? You get creative, just like a kid. You tend to do things you wouldn’t normally do. That book that’s been collecting dust starts to look really good. Or you may not even have any physical books in the house, but you have butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, milk — let the baking begin! You may find that you’re a really good writer, artist, beaded-necklace maker and more.

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Whatever the case, there’s something to be said about on-purpose boredom. Forcing the brain to work outside its comfort zone not only enhances creativity but can also improve problem-solving skills.

Boost your mood even when you are faced with boredom

Do you know you can actually find out how bored you are? Yes, there are online quizzes that actually help you determine your boredom. If you’re really that bored, pass some more time and take a quiz. But once you find out, then what? You will still be bored. And while being bored means you aren’t able to do the things you’d like to do, you will soon find out there are lots of other things you can do. Before you know it, you could increase productivity and even boost your mood.

  • Get outside – Are you a slave to the latest technology? Unplug and get retro! Fly a kite, toss a frisbee or roller skate.
  • Clean up – Stop tripping over that pile of shoes for the last time and take the time to get things cleaned up. While you may not want to do it, you’ll feel so much better once you’re done.
  • Tackle a puzzle – You know you’ve been tempted to pull out the 1000-piece puzzle from the attic. Here’s your chance.
  • Journal your thoughts – While it may be tempting to share what you ate on social media, take the time to journal your day.
  • Enjoy your kids – For those of you with little ones, spend some quality time just watching them wobble to the door, pull your nose or learn peek-a-boo. You just can’t get that from a cell phone.
  • Volunteer – Get your mind off your boredom and go help someone else. Your idle time can be life-changing for someone in need.
  • Get some sleep – It’s amazing how much better you will sleep without all the distractions. You’re not doing anything else — go to bed early tonight!

So instead of being “on” all the time, let the mind take a break from the norm and enjoy a diversion from your typical means of entertainment. Explore being bored!

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Last Updated on December 16, 2018

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

We all look for a better and happier life, but somehow we realize it’s our attitude that makes it hard to lead the life we want. How can we build a positive attitude? Grant Mathews has listed out the things (from the easiest to the hardest) we can do to cultivate this attitude on Quora:

1. Listen to good music.

Music definitely improves your mood, and it’s a really simple thing to do.

2. Don’t watch television passively.

Studies have shown that people who watch TV less are happier, which leads me to my next point…

3. Don’t do anything passively.

Whenever I do something, I like to ask myself if, at the end of the day, I would be content saying that I had spent time doing it. (This is why I block sites I find myself wasting too much time on. I enjoy them, but they’re just not worth it when I could be learning something new, or working on projects I care about.)

Time is incredibly valuable.

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4. Be aware of negativity

A community that considers itself intelligent tends to be negativity because criticizing is seen as a signaling mechanism to indicate that you’re more intelligent than the person you corrected. This was irrationally frustrating for me – it’s one of those things you’ll stay up all night to think about.

5. Make time to be alone.

I initially said “take time just to be alone.” I changed it because if you don’t ensure you can take a break, you’ll surely be interrupted.

Being with other people is something you can do to make you happy, but I don’t include it in this list because nearly everyone finds time to talk with friends. On the other hand, spending time just with yourself is almost considered a taboo.

Take some time to figure out who you are.

6. Exercise.

This is the best way to improve your immediate happiness.

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Exercise probably makes you happy. Try and go on a run. You’ll hate yourself while doing it, but the gratification that you get towards the end vastly outweighs the frustration of the first few attempts. I can’t say enough good things about exercise.

Exercising is also fantastic because it gives you time alone.

7. Have projects.

Having a goal, and moving towards it, is a key to happiness.

You have to realize though that achieving the goal is not necessarily what makes you happy – it’s the process. When I write music, I write it because writing is inherently enjoyable, not because I want to get popular (as if!).

8. Take time to do the things you enjoy.

That’s very general, so let me give you a good example.

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One of the things that has really changed my life was finding small communities centered around activities I enjoy. For instance, I like writing music, so I’m part of a community that meets up to write a song for an hour every week. I love the community. I’ve also written a song every week, 37 weeks in a row, which has gradually moved me towards larger goals and makes me feel very satisfied.

9. Change your definition of happiness.

Another reason I think I’m more happy than other people is because my definition of happiness is a lot more relaxed than most people’s. I don’t seek for some sort of constant euphoria; I don’t think it’s possible to live like that. My happiness is closer to stability.

10. Ignore things that don’t make you happy.

I get varying reactions to this one.

The argument goes “if something is making you unhappy, then you should find out why and improve it, not ignore it.” If you can do that, great. But on the other hand, there’s no reason to mope about a bad score on a test.

There’s another counterargument: perhaps you’re moping because your brain is trying to work out how to improve. In fact, this is the key purpose of depression: Depression’s Upside – NYTimes.com

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I can think of examples that go both ways. I remember, for instance, when I was debating a year or two ago and my partner and I would lose a round, I would mull over what we had done wrong for a long time. In that way, I got immensely better at debate (and public speaking in general – did you know debate has amazing effects on your public speaking ability? But now I really digress).

On the other hand, there’s no way that mulling over how dumb you were for missing that +x term on the left hand side will make you better at math. So stop worrying about it, and go practice math instead.

11. Find a way to measure your progress, and then measure it.

Video games are addictive for a reason: filling up an experience bar and making it to the next level is immensely satisfying. I think that it would be really cool if we could apply this concept to the real world.

I put this near the bottom of the list because, unfortunately, this hasn’t been done too often in the real world – startup idea, anyone? So you would have to do it yourself, which is difficult when you don’t even know how much you’ve progressed.

For a while, I kept a log of the runs I had taken, and my average speed. It was really cool to see my improvement over the weeks. (Also, I was exercising. Combining the two was fantastic for boosting happiness.)

12. Realize that happiness is an evolutionary reward, not an objective truth.

It’s easy to see that this is correct, but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason.

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