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Published on January 21, 2021

How to Cure Boredom: 20 Things to Reignite Your Life

How to Cure Boredom: 20 Things to Reignite Your Life

Boredom arises from repetition, so if you want to cure boredom, start by noticing how many new experiences you have on a day to day basis.

Doing, seeing, and engaging with new things creates the space for curiosity and inspiration. As part of the deal you may feel some fear—tempered by excitement—but it will be worth it.

Here are 20 things you can do now or in the near future to cure boredom and reignite your life.

1. Travel

If when you spend a two week holiday travelling, it feels like a month or more, it’s probably because your typical way of life is repetitive[1]. Same routine; same commute; same food. Even benign, healthy activities like yoga and mindfulness can become part of the repetition of your everyday life or week, and repetition shrinks time.

Travel, by its very definition, leads to perpetual new experiences, and each new experience has to be processed by the brain for the first time. Whenever you learn something new, neural circuits communicate through synapses, and the creation of these pathways takes more energy and more time.

That “longer” time is then interpreted as such by the brain, hence you perceive the two weeks of you holiday as significantly longer than a typical two weeks at home.

I understand that it’s a difficult time to travel abroad at the moment amid the pandemic, what you need to do is then to try to fulfill your life with new experiences — explore a little and get out of your comfort zone!

2. Learn a New Language

If you feel bored you must have time on your hands. What better way to spend that time than to enhance your ability to communicate. Remember when you said: “I’d really love to be able to speak Italian”?

There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to converse with a foreigner in their own language. It opens the door to recognize the differences and similarities between cultures while also making a new friend.

The extra bonus is that your new friend really appreciates your effort to speak their language, which is, in itself, an indication of not just your curiosity but your respect for them, their country, and culture.

3. Empower Yourself

You might consider “boredom” as a state, but in essence it is a thought. Consider the thought “I am bored.” It suggests that I am being bored. So who or what is boring me? And why would I allow my conscious state to be altered by external factors?

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Take responsibility and ownership of your own life if you really want to learn how to cure boredom.

4. Let Go of Self-Pity

  • “I’m bored.”
  • “It’s not fair.”
  • “Why is this happening to me?”

How useful are these thoughts? How much more useful would it be to let them go and reignite your life with positive affirmations instead?

5. Be Creative

Creativity is what we were born for. Whether it be artistically, musically, or literary, it’s something you can do alone. It may be practical, for example gardening or carpentry, or perhaps building a business plan for your new enterprise, but whatever it is that gets your creative juices flowing will neutralize any feelings of boredom and reignite your life.

6. Learn How to Play a Musical Instrument

The ten thousand hour rule for musical proficiency has lost some of it’s credence of late, which is probably not such a bad thing for aspiring learners[2].

Rather than being daunted by the idea of learning how to play a musical instrument, focus on the end goal. What is it you really want?

Take the guitar, for instance. Do you want to learn to play classical music like “Tales of the Alhambra” or the riff from “Smoke on the Water”? There are vast differences between the two—not least the amount of time it will take you to learn how.

Do-it-yourself learning is all very well, but when it comes to music, one size definitely doesn’t fit all, so treat yourself to finding a teacher—online if necessary—who can customize your lessons to exactly what you want to achieve. This way you can avoid learning unwanted techniques and complicated scales and concentrate on that particular sound and style that you want to create.

7. Move

Physical activity produces endorphins, which, by interacting with your brain receptors, create positive feelings. The feeling of boredom cannot coexist with positive feelings, so this is a perfect way to cure it.

Whether it be the effort of bench-pressing your maximum weight, achieving a head-stand, or dancing to your favorite song, you will never be bored when you are enjoying the experience of pushing yourself physically.

8. Take Conscious Breaths

If you are not thinking, then you cannot think that you are bored, and when you are present you cannot conceive of the duality that prompts comparison between your current state and an alternative fantasy.

Conscious breathing reduces stress levels and brings you mind back to the here and now[3]. The best part is that it only takes a few minutes!

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9. Accept Reality as It Is

According to Buddhist teachings[4], all suffering arises from craving, and learning to accept reality as it is liberates us from that craving.

Since boredom is resistance to what is, the cure is to accept reality.

10. Choose Your Chores

We all have things we have to do from time to time for practical reasons. They may be time consuming, they may be uninspiring, they may seem boring, but they just need doing.

Rather than resist the experience and go into victim mode—poor me—make a different choice. Choose to do what you have to do, and do it to the best of your ability with as much enthusiasm as you can muster. You’ll be amazed at the difference this makes.

11. Declutter

Do you really need that fondue set? When did you last wear that double-cuff dress shirt? Are you ever going to use that static bike again? How much lighter would your life feel without this excess baggage?

If you want to learn how to cure boredom, decluttering and aiming for a more minimalist lifestyle can be a great goal to occupy your time and energy.

12. Learn a New Recipe

Cooking programs on TV have never been more popular, and yet we spend more time watching than doing[5].

If you put your mind to it, you can easily learn how to cook to a decent standard by using free resources available online including recipes and YouTube videos.

13. Free Yourself From Time

Sometimes boredom manifests as a result of simply waiting in a queue, and can lead to stress and anxiety even if you do not have a deadline to meet:

  • Why is this taking so long?
  • Why didn’t I choose the other line?
  • Why is that woman asking so many questions?
  • How can they be so inefficient?

You can allow time to be your master, or you can recognize it for what it is—a mental construct created by humans.

14. Be Grateful

Take ten minutes to focus on gratitude. Think of three things to be grateful for in your life and just sit with that intention.

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Do this every day to help you learn how to cure boredom. When you feel good about the little things in life, it’s difficult to feel bored or think that you have nothing interesting to do.

15. Be

Boredom stems from a lack ability to just “be.”

The pace of technological development, from Crompton’s Spinning Mule to the smart phone, has been so fast that it is completely at odds with human evolution. In the “developed” world, the increase in leisure time, plus the more recent trend and hence expectation of instant gratification, has resulted in a craving mentality for the “next” thing[6].

“I am a human being, not a human doing.” -Kurt Vonnegut

If you want to reignite your life, you must first focus on being instead of constantly doing. Only then can you really focus on what will bring interest back to your life.

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” -Blaise Pascal

16. Clear Your Mind

Close your eyes and ask yourself: “I wonder what the next thing I think of is going to be?”

You may be surprised at the results.

17. Don’t Think of Boredom as an Enemy

If you feel boredom looming, don’t be negative and don’t resist it. Recognize it and be curious.

Why do I feel this way? What a blessing to have this space where I can choose to do whatever I like, including nothing.

When you see boredom as an opportunity to analyze what’s going on in your mind, you immediately have a chance to reignite your life through understanding.

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18. Give of Yourself

When you have time that you’re not using well, why not go out and help others. You can get to know your neighbors better or find a place to volunteer. Any of these can help you as you learn how to cure boredom.

How might giving to others affect your feelings of self-worth and your commitment to taking your life to the next level?

19. Get Closure

If you’re feeling bored and lost in life, there is likely something holding you back. It may be regret, grief, anger, or disappointment. Engage in self-reflection to discover what’s causing these feelings and find a way to get closure so that you can move forward.

20. Don’t Play It Safe

Boredom is negative, blinkered, dis-empowering and, above all, complacent.

You can engage with it and remain stuck within its known limitations, or you can break through and take a chance on the unknown; the otherness; the excitement—perhaps even the danger—of the new.

Step out of your comfort zone, even just a bit. Pick up a new hobby, read a book you wouldn’t normally read, or go out with friends you haven’t seen in years. Doing something new will help you cure boredom and reignite something in you.

Final Thoughts

The concept of boredom is, in truth, a doorway to a myriad of possibilities. Remove the veil and choose from a plethora of options to rebuild your passion and interest in life.

Follow these tips and see how consistently enjoying new experiences helps you learn how to cure boredom and reignites your life by expanding your horizons both internally and externally.

More on Curing Boredom

Featured photo credit: Shane via unsplash.com

Reference

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Gray Hughes

Life coach (using the motivational 3 c's Model) and writer.

7 Tips On Putting Knowledge Into Action Why Feeling Uncomfortable Is a Sign To Improve Yourself How to Cure Boredom: 20 Things to Reignite Your Life 5 Ways to Make Good Choices That Align With Your Life’s Goals How To Find Your Passion in Life and Fulfill Purpose

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: 5 Levels Explained

Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: 5 Levels Explained

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory of motivation that lists five categories of human needs that dictate individual behavior. These five categories refer to physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs.[1]

Motivation plays a big part in athletic coaching. I spent 44 years coaching basketball and each day at practice, I was trying to motivate our athletes to give their best effort. In this article, I will examine Maslow’s hierarchy and five areas of needs from an athletic perspective.

1. Physiological Needs

These needs represent the most basic human survival needs. They include food, water, rest, and breathing, and all four have importance in athletics.

Food has had an evolution in the world of athletics. I cannot recall my coaches in the 1950s and ‘60s mentioning anything about food. As time went on, the pre-game meal became important. Steak seemed to be the meal of choice early in the evolution. Research then indicated pasta would be the better choice.[2]

Today, I think most coaches prefer pasta. However, if the players are ordering from menus, some coaches believe the players should stick with their regular diets and order accordingly.

The next step in this evolution was that the pre-game meal, although important, is not nearly as critical as the athletes’ overall nutrition. At our University of St. Francis athletic seminars, we invited nutritionists to speak and to educate our players on their nutritional habits.

The ultimate change in food intake may be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Tom Brady. He adheres to a specific, disciplined diet that has allowed him to play superb football at age 43.

Water also has had an evolution in sports. It went from not being allowed in practices to coaches scheduling water breaks during the practices.

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Rest is extremely important in all sports, and statistics validate its importance. NBA research found that during the course of the season teams win 6 of 10 games at home but only 4 of 10 on the road. In the NBA playoffs, the statistics change to 6.5 at home and 3.5 on the road. Many coaches believe rest is the key factor to these statistics because the players are sleeping in their own beds for home games.[3]

Our St. Francis basketball team found the importance of breathing on a trip to play in a tournament in Colorado. In our first game, we were playing great and winning by 12 points early in the game. Then the altitude kicked in, adversely affected our breathing, and we lost the lead and eventually the game.

In our second game, having learned our lesson, we substituted more frequently! Maslow’s idea of physiological needs plays a major part in the athletic arena.

2. Safety Needs

Safety needs include protection from violence, emotional stability and well-being, health security, and financial security.

If a fight breaks out during a basketball game, there can be serious injuries. This is the reason a coach steps in immediately when there is any violence or dirty play in practice. The coach must protect the players. You drill your teams to play hard—never dirty.

The importance of emotional stability has gained more credence in sports in recent years. Many teams hire psychologists to help work with their players. There is a great deal of player failure in sports and it is critical for the players to stay emotionally stable.

Health security is much more prevalent in sports today than in my playing days. I once got a concussion during a basketball game. We had no trainers. The coach handled it by telling me after the game, “Sullivan, you play better when you don’t know where the hell you are!” He was right, and my medical treatment ended there! Games today have trainers available to protect the health of the athletes.

Financial security is predominant in professional sports. Most players today use free agency to go where the money is because they consider sport not to be a sport at all. They believe it is a short-term business at their level. I personally appreciate the athletes who have taken less money so the team can retain teammates or use the dollars to bring in new players.

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3. Love and Belonging Needs

These needs can be summed up with two words: love and relationships.

After teams win championships, you will often hear coaches say, “I love these guys” or “I loved coaching this team.” You can tell by their body language and the tone of their voice that they really mean it.

I think coaches say this because the season can be a tough grind. Practices, scouting, film work, travel, and problems that arise take a toll on coaches. However, when you have teams that give all they have every night in practice, you do come to love them.

ESPN did a 30-30 segment on the North Carolina State national championship team coached by Jim Valvano. I was especially interested in watching it because I knew a player on the team who used to come to our camps. Terry Gannon played a major role in their championship.

The program was a reunion of their players. This was 20 plus years from their title, and if you were to take one thing away from the show, it would be how much the players loved each other.

In the last analysis, sport is all about relationships. You can meet former teammates with whom you played 40 to 50 years earlier and that athletic bond is as strong as it ever was. Although you may have not seen each other in years, your friendship is so cemented it’s like you have been seeing each other weekly.

David Halberstam’s book, The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship, validates the relationship between athletics forges. Ted Williams is dying and three of his former Boston Red Sox teammates—Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio—make the trip to Florida to see him. Even though 50 years had passed since they played together, the bond among them never waned.

Love and belonging epitomize the essence of sports.

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4. Esteem Needs

These needs are characterized by self-respect and self-esteem. Self-respect is “the belief that you are valuable and deserve dignity.” Self-esteem is twofold—“it is based on the respect and acknowledgment from others and esteem which is based on your own self-assessment.”[4]

Often the players on the bench are the ones the coach respects the most because they work so hard in practices yet receive none of the glory. The best coaches never let the starters or stars ever denigrate the players on the bench. Coaches must always acknowledge the value and the dignity of those who play little. They often turn out to be the superstars of their professions.

Some coaches will never get “it.” They think they can motivate their players by degrading them. They embarrass the athletes during games and they constantly berate their performance in practices.

Great coaches are just the opposite. They are encouragers. They do push their players and they push them hard, but they always respect them. Great coaches enhance the self-esteem and confidence of their players.

5. Self-Actualization Needs

“Self-actualization describes the fulfillment of your full potential as a person.”[5]

I believe three words are the key to self-actualization: potential, effort, and regrets.

You often hear in athletics that a player has potential. It also is not uncommon for the person introducing the athlete to rave about his potential. I was fortunate to work with an outstanding man in the Milwaukee Bucks camps, Ron Blomberg. Ron had the best definition of potential that I ever heard: “Potential means he hasn’t done it.” Will he do all the work necessary to fulfill his potential?

Effort is great, but it’s not enough. If you want to reach your full potential, you must have a consistency of effort in your daily habit. Only consistency of effort can lead to success.

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John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, said that success is becoming all your ability will allow you to be. He agreed with his friend, major league umpire, George Moriarty, even though he used to kid him. Coach told him he never had seen Moriarty spelled with just one “i.” He followed this with, “Of course, the baseball players accused him of having only one ‘eye’ in his head as well.”

In his poem, The Road Ahead or The Road Behind, Moriarty wrote,

“. . . for who can ask more of a man
than giving all within his span, it seems to me, is not so far from – Victory.

When your life is winding down and you look back if you can say you gave “all in your span”—that you consistently gave it your best effort—you will have reached your full potential and there will be no regrets.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned more about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, consider reflecting on the last two needs (esteem needs and self-actualization needs) and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you doing all you can to enhance the self-esteem of those around you?
  • Are you doing all you can to self-actualize the potential you have been given?

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

Reference

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