Most bored people hate the feeling that way but what do you have to do to be bored?
Can you teach me how to be bored?
Most people have probably thought about boredom when trying to avoid it but how many spend time thinking about its purpose and why and how we become bored.
I spent from 1994 to 2008 absolutely avoiding being inactive and yet not using any energy as I suffered with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
This meant I was forced to find plenty of things to do using many different skills. If I had been reading, I would need to switch to TV, after TV to emails, after emails perhaps a game. Constantly changing the type of activity and thought processes required so that I was “busy” but resting parts of my brain at the same time.
As a consequence of my illness I have almost forgotten how to be bored. My own recollection of the experience is that at times I would be too tired to do anything but equally too tired to sleep and therefore I was “restless”. It was a state I hated and normally had to endure because I had been to a concert a couple of days before and I was still in the middle of a “crash”. A “crash” is in interesting state which would drive me nuts as I wanted to express how it felt to be crashed but my brain was so tired I could not.
In my case boredom or fear of boredom was a strong motivator.
Leo Tolstoy defined Boredom as “the desire for desires”
You are not happy with how you are feeling and you know you want a different feeling but you don’t know how to get it.
A child when bored possibly has a different perspective on boredom. They feel they have nothing to do and most of what they want to do is probably not possible. They might be stuck at home when they want to go to a friends. They might want a new Xbox game. They sit there bored and can only think how bored they are and come up with a limited set of alternatives.
Arthur Schopenhauer felt “Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination: both depend on being outside rather than inside a situation, and one leads to the other.”
I now find it incredibly hard to be bored because as soon as I spot an emotion I am fascinated that it should be there. I am curious as to how it feels to be that emotion and wonder what the cause could be. So when I notice that I am bored I instantly start moving away from the feeling because I am curious to experience boredom.
To think about boredom and what it means is probably quite a boring thing to do. So what can you do to shift yourself? If boredom makes you lethargic and unable to think perhaps it is a good idea to have a spent a little time thinking about funny times and events in your life. If you have these written down somewhere or you can recall them easily then you can spend some time enjoying those times again.
This too might seem “boring” in a bored state so perhaps a better thing to do would be go for a walk or do some exercise. Something which doesn’t require thought.
The key is to go and do something different. If it is still boring do something else. Keep changing actives until you find you forget to be bored.