I would like to discuss today, how it happened that we don’t feel bored anymore. Somehow it appears to me that most of us completely forgot that boredom exists, because we can constantly distract ourselves and are, in general, always “busy”. Undeniably, most of us already have a stressful life, which leads to most of our time being spent at work and on maintaining relationships. We have a job to do and tasks to fulfil, but what happens when we come home and have time for ourselves?
What we do with our free time
Those who don’t keep fulfilling tasks at home as soon as they get back, would describe this time as their “leisure” or “free time”. This is the time that we can use for whatever we would like to. We could use this time for hobbies, such as sports or painting or reading, but instead of pursuing one of these possibilities, we often spent the rest of the day online, watching Netflix, looking at Instagram pictures or tweeting random thoughts, because we feel too tired for anything else.
Of course, this is a problem by itself, but it’s not what I would like to focus on today. The extensive use of electronic devices has been criticized very often and from every possible angle, but I would like to spend some time on one of the effects that isn’t discussed that often. We always have something to do/to distract ourselves with and this leads to us forgetting how it feels to be bored.
What does boredom mean
Let’s first define what exactly boredom is. According to Merriam Webster boredom is “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest”. This simply means that people who are bored, do not know what to do with themselves, because they have either a) no idea what to do or b) the ideas they have, seem not interesting enough to pursue them.
So, when was the last time you felt bored? How did it make you feel? How did you make it stop? In case you cannot answer any of these questions: It means you probably turn to your phone, laptop or tablet as soon as you have finished a certain task or whatever you were doing before. There is no need to be embarrassed, however, since most of us are likely to be in the same position.
Why being bored can be important sometimes
When we hit a dead end and have no clue what to do with ourselves next, our brain starts looking for alternatives. We will think about different activities that might be fun to engage in and eventually settle on something. This process often leads to a lot of creativity, because the less interested we are in ANYTHING, the harder it gets for our brain to find something we would enjoy. This creativity can be one of the greatest things, as it often leads to wonderful new ideas or inspirations.
How electronic devices influence our behaviour
However, if we reach for our phone the moment we stop doing something, we cut this process off at the root. Our brain does not have to go through the struggle of finding something interesting for us when the next cute picture of a kitten is just two clicks away. Why would we willingly sit around for 20 minutes, thinking about what to do, when we can just start watching a series on Netflix?
What to take from this
I don’t think by any means that everyone should stop using their electronic devices now. We do make great connections over the internet and there is a lot of valuable content out there that needs to be seen. Nevertheless, it cannot hurt to once in a while resist the urge to grab your phone after having finished something else. I guess we need to understand that we don’t have to be “busy” constantly. It is okay to do nothing from time to time. Allow boredom back into your life, and you might be surprised what it can do.