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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 August 12, 2019

      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

      Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

      But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

      I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

      Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

      1. Nuts

      The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

      Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

      Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

      Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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      2. Blueberries

      Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

      When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

      3. Tomatoes

      Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

      4. Broccoli

      While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

      Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

      Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

      5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

      Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

      The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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      Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

      6. Soy

      Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

      Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

      Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

      7. Dark Chocolate

      When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

      Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

      8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

      Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

      B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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      Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

      Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

      To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

      9. Foods Rich in Zinc

      Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

      Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

      Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

      10. Gingko Biloba

      This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

      It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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      However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

      11. Green and Black Tea

      Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

      Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

      Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

      12. Sage and Rosemary

      Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

      Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

      When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

      More About Boosting Brain Power

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Reference

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