Bored? We can help. Everyone gets bored, but that doesn't mean it has to last long. We have a slew of the most up to date information and a bunch of fun and exciting ideas for things to do when you're bored to help you get out of that slump.
Not only is boredom unpleasant, but it's also mentally painful. Boredom can even make us do negative things. For instance, many bad habits can grow out of boredom. You know what I mean if you ever decided to have a snack because you were bored.
If you're here, then you're likely bored, or worse yet, know you have to do something boring soon. This article is designed to be a quick (and non-boring) discussion on some things to do when you're bored, and what you can do to prevent it from happening at all.
What is Boredom?
Before we tackle boredom, we have to know what it is.
Believe it or not, the most important factor in boredom happening is attention. For you to feel boredom, your mind first has to want to be active. This feeling is called arousal. When you're mind is relaxed and not much is going on you feel relaxed, you're not bored, but instead calm and carefree.
What happens when you're bored is your mind is aroused, but nothing in your environment is deserving of attention, you want to spend that mental energy somewhere, but have no good way to do it.
The second factor in boredom happening is your focus. You usually lose focus because you're not able to put your attention onto any one thing and the environment you're in is the cause. Often there is a lot of activity happening, and you might have something to do, but you can't focus on any of it enough to enjoy doing it.
That's why watching T.V. at home is usually relaxing, but having to watch T.V. muted in a waiting room seems boring, because you're stressed about what the dentist is going to do to you, how much it's going to cost, and you keep having to look up at the person calling names, you can't focus your attention on the show. Since you can't focus on anything, your mind isn't able to be active in any one place, and it gets bored.
Funnily enough, daydreaming and other ways you might try to stop yourself from being bored can actually make your boredom worse, because you know the reason you're doing is that you're bored, and because of that, you're not actually interested in it.
The last factor that makes you feel boredom is a lack of control. When you think about it these are normally the places boredom is at it's worse, it's when you're in a class you don't like or a waiting room. Normally, when we're in an environment that we don't find interesting, and it's making us bored, we can easily leave. What really makes boredom worse is knowing that you're bored and you can't leave until someone else lets you.
Some Great Things to Do When You're Bored
Thankfully, you're not out of options. Even if you're stuck in a waiting room, you do have some control, and just knowing that can make using any of these techniques that much more effective the next time you're stuck. So, let's tackle some great things to do when you're bored.
Things to Do When You're Bored Outside
Being bored when you have to do something is the worst, because, well, you have to do it, you don't have very much control, and the thing doesn't interest you. If it were interesting, it wouldn't bore you, and if you didn't have to do it, you wouldn't be. This situation may seem hopeless at first, but the following sections will give you some ideas that help stop boredom from happening, using the factors of boredom you've just read.
Meditation and mindfulness can be great tools that you bring with you for the next time that you're bored. You don't even have to carry anything!
Meditation helps by quieting your mind and making you feel relaxed. This process is, effectively, lowering your arousal level. By lowering your arousal level, you can be in a situation that would normally be boring, and still feel fine because your mind won't need any more stimulation than it's getting.
It can also help by lowering the worries in your mind. If you practice mindfulness to think about why you're worried about what the dentist might say, then you'll be focusing on that one thing, and be engaged. On the other hand, if you meditate to clear your mind of those sorts of worries, then it'll be able to enjoy the things that you have to entertain yourself with while you wait, like the television or your phone, even if the rest of the room is very distracting.
A great way to get started with this is to research some meditation techniques to try for yourself. If you're bored right now, this is something you can do that you can bring with you to help you feel more in control the next time you're stuck waiting somewhere.
Having music with you is another great way to reduce boredom. Not only does it keep you entertained, and in doing so keep up with your arousal, but by eliminating outside noises it can help stop you from being distracted. By stopping distractions, you're more able to focus on enjoying whatever you might've brought with you to entertain yourself.
If you know you're going to be somewhere boring, then make sure you bring something interesting with you. If you have to be in a waiting room, then save an article you've been meaning to read or bring your own book, instead of only being able to read from one of the old magazines in the waiting room. That way, you'll know there's something there that you'll be interested in.
Things To Do When You're Bored At Home
Those other options were great when you're bored because you're stuck, but there's another kind of boredom. What if you're bored at home? You could do anything you want to, but nothing is appealing to you. Nothing seems interesting. That can be even worse, and if you're reading this it's probably the situation you're in right now, but we have help for that too.
Do Something Productive
Part of the reason you can feel bored at home is none of your options appeal to you. You have things to do, but they don't seem like they're worth doing. Maybe you tried to watch a show but couldn't get into it. Maybe you could be planning your holiday party. These things seem fun, so why don't you find them entertaining? As unpleasant as it can be to hear, part of the problem could be that you know you should be doing something else.
The process of avoidance works the same way as daydreaming. If you know that you're only doing a fun activity as a distraction, then trying to do it can actually make you feel more bored because you're not actually interested in it.
The solution to this, of course, is to tackle that thing that you're avoiding head-on. By getting that unpleasant thing out of the way, you'll be able to enjoy something fun again because you'll know you're doing it for fun, and not as a distraction.
Try Something New
Another reason you might be looking for things to do when you're bored at home is that you've done them all before. That means that even though the activity might seem fun, it's not keeping you engaged anymore. The solution is to find something new to do. Boredom can be an opportunity to find new things that excite and interest you. Here are a few productive suggestions:
While it may fit into the ‘thing's you're putting off' category for you, exercise deserves its own place on this list because of how effective it can be at easing boredom.
As painful as it can be to think about getting up, getting changed, and getting ready to do all of those exercises, it's rare for people to be bored while they're actually working out. Because your mind is focused on the activity, you're able to shut out other distractions that might be bothering you. Plus, if the exercise is hard enough, you won't be able to focus on anything else.
The best part of exercise it what it can do for your confidence and energy. Sometimes the hardest part of exercising is starting it; every time you start it becomes easier to do, and that way you can develop a good habit that helps keep you from getting bored. It also will get your blood pumping. Exercising releases endorphins that help you feel more energized so you'll have more energy to try some of the other things on this list.
Fighting boredom can be challenging, but with practice it can be less of an issue over time. Now that you know what boredom is and where it comes from, you should have the tools at your disposal to stop boredom the next time you run into it.