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Yes Life Can Be Boring Sometimes. But There’re Some Tricks to Make It More Interesting

Yes Life Can Be Boring Sometimes. But There’re Some Tricks to Make It More Interesting

Boredom. We have all felt it, and there’s a good chance at one point or another, we have all caused it. We feel bored when we are slowly making our way through a project at work. We feel bored trying to listen to our professors teach a lecture. We feel bored doing…well, most things.

I mean, I’ve even been bored having a conversation with my best friend. Even scrolling through Facebook can result in a moaned “I’m so booooored.” So let’s fix that. The following tips and tricks will help you get through every day with a little less boredom.

Boredom creeps in easily when life becomes routine…

When life becomes routine, it can be hard to feel like there is any excitement in our lives. In fact, one of the most exciting things I’ve started doing is walking two miles on my lunch break. Yes, that is something I classify as exciting. Maybe that’s what being an adult is, but if you’re anything like me, you crave a little action! Boredom is such a common issue for the human race that scientists have actually started studying it.

They’ve defined it as “an aversive state of wanting, but being unable to, engage in satisfying activity.” [1]” And when I say we’ve all experienced it, I mean it; a 2003 survey found that over 90% of young Americans have experienced boredom.

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Sure, at it’s root it just sounds like we have a really petty issue. But it turns out boredom can lead to some serious problems. If boredom becomes a chronic condition, we can work so hard at filling that span of nothingness that we actually develop drug problems, gambling addictions and even binge eating.

The key seems to be attention and awareness. Studies suggest we get bored when we have difficulty paying attention. Often times we then blame external forces and reason that the task we’ve been assigned seems dull or that there is actually nothing to do at all.

Boredom can lead to earlier death

Not only can boredom feel miserable, but experts say bored people may be at risk for an earlier death [2]. If that’s not scary enough, chronic boredom can also lead to the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger and Aggression
  • Lack of interpersonal skills
  • Weight Gain

Though it may seem shocking that simply being bored can lead to such serious consequences, it makes sense. After all, if you find yourself with nothing to do, you may be more likely to reach for a candy bar or a bag of chips. Doing this often enough could result in weight gain. If you’re bored to the point of frustration, of course you’re going to be moody. And feeling like you have nothing to do can be a trigger (and symptom) of depression, as you can ultimately feel that there is nothing to do.

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10 tricks to combat boredom:

Now that you know boredom shouldn’t be taken lightly, here are ten steps you can take to fight off that feeling of nothingness and improve your mood and health.

Think [3]: It might sound simple, but our brains need to be challenged in order to fight off the feeling of boredom. Our brains need to be stimulated and active in order to stay agile and healthy. So put together a puzzle, read a book or watch an intriguing documentary. And if you’re bored at work, try shifting your focus to something like your calendar and tasks you want to accomplish in a short term.

Challenge yourself: If a friend invites you to an event, go. This doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everything, but say yes to attending things you might normally say no to. Stepping outside your comfort zone may help you fight off boredom; not only are you actively doing something, but you will be hyper-aware of the new experiences.

Avoid boring people: Sorry, but it had to be said. If you’re surrounded by people who make you yawn and lead your mind to wander, it may be time to switch up your surroundings. This is not advice to drop your friends for newer, exciting versions, but it is a push to expand your focus. Talk to strangers more frequently, too. You never know when it could lead to a new adventure.

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Bored at work? Study your surroundings: Take the perspective of a scientist and study what’s around you. Gretchen Rubin, author of ‘Better than Before’ recommends looking at what people are wearing and what sounds you notice. If you’re feeling really inspired, write a quick story about your observations.

Try something new, like a unique recipe: If you’re sitting around at home, binge-watching TV shows, you’re probably feeling bored, even though you’re technically doing something. In this instance, try finding a new recipe and cooking a meal you’ve never made before. It’s mildly time consuming, and you get the experience of eating something you made.

Paint a room: I don’t know about you, but when I sit around in one room too long, I realize how much I want to change it. If you’re trying to overcome boredom and you have some time on your hands, go for it! Just don’t paint it a boring color.

Make some money: Try cleaning out your closet and finding nice pieces that you just don’t wear anymore. There are plenty of companies (both online and in person) who will pay you for the items sitting in your closet collecting dust.

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Color: Look, I know coloring may have been intended for kids, but there is no denying that those Adult Coloring Books are super intricate and time-consuming. If you’re desperate for a way to kill time, pick up a coloring book and some crayons or colored pencils.

Workout/Meditate: Use the time you’re trying to kill by doing something good for your physical and mental health. This can be anything from taking a walk to sweating it out at the gym. Either way, your body will thank you.

Take a brain break: If you’re at work and realizing your mind is wandering and you can’t focus, take a brain break to prevent boredom. Pull up a silly YouTube video or two and allow yourself to laugh.

So the next time you find yourself spacing out or feeling miserable because you have nothing to do, try some of these tricks and notice the difference it can make in terms of your overall well-being. Boredom is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be a constant.

Featured photo credit: Maxime Le Conte des Floris via stocksnap.io

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Heather Poole

Technical writer

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

1. Stress Eating

I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

2. Nail Biting

Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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3. Hanging out with Naysayers

We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5. Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

Smoking risks

    6. Excessive Drinking

    All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

    • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
    • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
    • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

    If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

    If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

    7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

    Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

    If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

    A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

    “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

    And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

    While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

    Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

    Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

    8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

    There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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    In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

    Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

    Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

    9. Watching Too Much TV

    I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

    Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

    Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

    It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

    10. Being Late

    Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

    Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

    Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

    11. Being in Bad Relationships

    Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

    I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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    Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

    12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

    Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

    Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

    Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

    By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    13. Focusing on the Negatives

    In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

    Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

    Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

    And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

    The Bottom Line

    So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

    Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

    Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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