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How to Overcome Boredom

How to Overcome Boredom


    Have you ever been bored?

    Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

    I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

    If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, lap tops, i-pads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem:

    Boredom

    We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment.

    We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People don’t know how to sit still. We feel guilty if we are not ‘doing.’ ‘Inactivity’ has become the ultimate ‘sin’.

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    What is boredom anyway?

    You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety & stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

    It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’. It’s a desire for sensory stimulation.

    What it boils down to a lack of focus.

    If you think about those times when you’re bored it’s usually because you ‘don’t know what to do’. So indecision plays a big part.

    When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored.

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    So one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

    Sometimes it’s good to be bored

    If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation.

    In other words, to enjoy stillness.

    Research has shown that it’s not the ‘boredom’ its-self that causes the frustration, it’s the resistance to doing nothing. Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore. You would be relaxing!

    In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

    Sounds weird, but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st century living provides. The constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phonecalls…

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    Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually a good for us?

    Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

    Here’s my 3 step strategy to overcome boredom:

    1. Get focused

    Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. What would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

    Here are a few ideas:

    • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you
    • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks
    • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses

    2. Kill procrastination

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    Boredom is useful in some ways because it give us energy to ‘do things’, so next time you’re bored why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been ‘meaning to get done, but have been too busy’.

    This is a great time to clear your ‘to do’ list.

    Some ideas:

    • Do some exercise
    • Read a book
    • Learn something new
    • Call a friend
    • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write)
    • Spring clean
    • Wash the car
    • Renovate the house
    • Re-arrange the furniture
    • Write your shopping list
    • Water the plants
    • Walk the dog
    • Sort out your mail & email
    • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe)

    3. Enjoy boredom

    If none of the above work, then try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it.

    Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly ‘doing things’ in order to be productive. In-fact research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.

    So take some time to relax. You never know you might even like it.

    (Photo credit: Bored Woman Sitting via Shutterstock)

      More by this author

      Zoe B

      A strategist, coach and blogger who shows people how to stop what isn't working for them in life and to start to plan the life they really want.

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      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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