7 Ways to Beat the Boredom Blues

by Jonathan

boredom

What challenges are you currently stressing over? Is it financial problems, weight issues, depression, or a lack of energy? Could it be self-esteem or relationship problems?

Those are truly legitimate concerns, but did you ever consider that many of those issues may actually be symptoms of a less obvious or hidden problem?

What hidden problem?

Underlying and contributing to these other problems, an epidemic of chronic boredom is draining the joy out of the lives of millions of people these days.

It’s affecting them emotionally, physically and financially. It’s robbing them of their happiness, and taking a big toll on the quality if their lives and relationships.

I am not talking about the kind of boredom that comes from not having anything to do. We all have plenty to do! In fact, having too much to do might be a contributor.

Can you be extremely busy and still be bored?

Yes, you certainly can, because boredom comes from not having anything to do that gets you truly excited and fills you with joyful anticipation. In other words, boredom happens when you are unable to do the things you really long to do! It is actually a byproduct of feeling discontent and unfulfilled.

How about you, are you bored, confused or dissatisfied with your life? The sad truth is, most people are bored out of their minds!

Why? Because, from the time they get out of bed in the morning, until the time they climb back into bed at night, nothing fun or exciting ever happens. There is nothing for them to look forward to. No reason to feel totally jazzed about their day. No sense of eager anticipation.

It’s the same old breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s the same boring shallow conversations about the weather or the news, with the same old boring people. Multiply this by 7 days a week, times 52 weeks a year, and what do you get? You get a bland, boring, lifeless, soul sucking existence!

7 ways to beat the boredom blues

1) How about a vacation? A really nice vacation can break the monotony, and get you feeling all fired up and excited. Vacations are a great idea, and I think it is extremely beneficial to take them regularly. But you can only take so many vacations, and their effect will only last so long. Then it’s back to the same old grind.

Still, they do help, so let’s categorize vacations a partial solution. What else can we do to breathe some pleasurable balance into our routine?

2) Complimentary activities. Here’s what I mean by that. If your work is mostly sedentary, then a you need to compliment it with some physical activities to balance things out. Take a walk during your lunch break. This will give you a change of scenery in addition to some increased circulation. Join a gym and stop there on your way to or from work for an hour or so. Go walking with your favorite person after work to unwind and communicate. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, just find a way to move your body.

What if your job is physically demanding? Then balance dictates some kind of restorative activity. This doesn’t mean you should exclude anything physical, but try to avoid activities that are too demanding. There are plenty of passive pass times that will leave you feeling refreshed.

3) Quiet reflection. Everyone, regardless of their lifestyle, should spend some amount of time each day in quiet reflection. I like the early mornings before things really get rolling. This is not a time for high powered thinking. It is a time for feeling peacefully aware. I purposely keep my mind quite and allow thoughts to drift in and out without getting overly engaged.

Learning to quiet our mind while still being alert is extremely restful. The mind will be running at full speed soon enough. I try for a state in which the mind and body are fully integrated and peacefully in sync. Making it a habit to do this for 10-15 minutes a day can have a profound effect on the way you perceive your life.

4) Get a hobby. Find something to do that has no connection with the rest of your life. Something you do for one reason only – enjoyment. You don’t need a practical reason for everything you do, practice doing something just because you enjoy it. Hobbies are like vacations from the structured part of your life, so don’t pollute them with ulterior motives. There purpose is enjoyment, pure and simple.

My hobby is Japanese Bonsai trees. The first time I was exposed to the art of Bonsai, I was instantly, and passionately hooked. I have enjoyed potting, pruning, shaping and caring for them ever since. Why? No logical reason, I don’t analyze it, I just enjoy it. Find something that works for you, and set aside some time to indulge yourself.

5) Day or weekend trips. Big ticket vacations are great, but so are little mini escapes. Even if you love your work, you still need to separate yourself from it on a regular basis. Do it for the people you love, even if don’t feel the need personally. I love what I do, but my wife likes to have me to herself from time to time. Don’t loose touch with ‘who you are’ away from what you do. A meaningful life is a balanced life. Design periodic ‘away days’ and you will accomplish more and keep everyone much happier in the process.

6) Explore new career options. If you don’t really like what you do, explore other options. Technology has opened many new windows of opportunity. You have options available that you are probably not even aware of. Do some research in a field that interests you, and don’t be afraid to explore new possibilities. There are people earning fantastic incomes, working from their home, with nothing more than a creative idea and a keyboard. You are only limited by your imagination.

If you discover something that gets you excited, ease into it a little at a time, to see if it’s a good fit. When you have a real grasp on what is required, create a plan that will help you make the transition in a realistic way. You are not stuck where you are, unless you want to be.

7) ***Learn to view your current activities in a positive way. This one is about attitude, and let’s face, life is about 90% attitude. If you are feeling bored or dissatisfied with any aspect of your current life, maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Let’s say that it is your job that you are unhappy with. I suggest that you make two lists.

One list will include all the things you don’t like about your job. How do you feel about the people, pay scale, responsibilities, hours, appreciation level, and anything else that comes to mind. If it bothers you, list it.

On the other list, write down everything you do like about your job. No matter how small or insignificant it might seem, if it is something positive, write it down. Now here’s the thing about this list, don’t stop until you find at least 30 things that you like about your job. That might sound impossible, but take your time and be creative. If you run out of things to list, take a break and then come back to it.

When you are done with the second list, go back to the first one, and ask yourself this question about every single negative thing you listed: “How have I contributed to this negative feeling?” If you are honest with yourself, your answers will probably surprise you. Remember, attitude is a huge part of perception.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Letitia Sweitzer

You are right about how boredom underlies other problems. I tend to doubt that “most people” are bored out of their minds because most of my friends are eager and doing creative things and cant wait to have time to pursue interests. However, thousands of people daily complain of boredom, probably millions. Yes, boredom can be escaped or shaped, and attitude has a lot to do with it, as you say.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Thank you Letitia for Joining the conversation. Undetected boredom is often at the root of other symptoms. You can be very busy and still be bored out of your mind.

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katie

School is a huge reason nothing exiting happens it is all the same writing this and reading that as if we actually learn from doing those things. It is a waste of time. I think that we learn from having fun and you have no freedom whatsoever, they treat you like little kids. We can’t where makeup, we can’t hold hands and hug people. We are not kids, we are young adults and they expect us to treat them with respect but how do they expect us to respect them when they don’t do it to us. I need freedom to be myself. It is there fault I don’t have any confidence in myself.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Katie, the only thing I can say is that I hope that someday, when you have children of your own and they say these same things to you, that you will remember how it felt. Believe me, from that perspective the situation will look very different.

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Jennie

Jonathan – this blog hits many points for me – thank you. I would love to hear your thoughts on another aspect of boredom I believe exists – good behaviour boredom. Throughout life we are rewarded and encouraged towards logical behaviour and as you referred to in point 4 hobbies are great ways to address this. I have not found it to be this simple.

A couple of years ago I made a decision to spend more time on existing and new hobbies. These quickly became further chores on my daily to do list. They felt bland, boring and did not ignite any real sense of enjoyment. I realised what I was really bored of was being a logical, well behaved person. Is it part of our nature to have a slightly naughty side that craves illogical and silly behaviour? I firmly believe this is partially the reason across many social groups and stages of life people enjoy alcohol; it gives a touch of ‘naughtiness’ to our existence without too much disruption to the logical daily life we do love and appreciate.

Obviously I am not referring to a desire for criminal activity or inflicting harm in any way; just a desire to do something mostly harmless than deviates slightly outside of normal social acceptance. Do you think this desire is true boredom or signs of deficiency in one’s life? Is it just personality and interests that triggers this type of boredom? I ask the last question as I feel I have seen this ‘good behaviour’ boredom in a wide range of people. How do we address this desire in a healthy way –or do we find the discipline to ignore it?

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Jennie, we all have a need for security and a need for variety. Breaking out of our normal routine is a necessary part of a balanced life and doing the same thing all the time does create boredom. Do we need to naughty? Well, I suppose that depends on your definition, but good clean fun never hurt anyone.

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Marilyn

Lots of good information in your article Jonathan. One other cause that I see contributing to feelings of boredom is the addiction to emotional intensity. From TV programs, news and sports items, relationship expectations to extreme spectator involvement of daredevils the resting state is often viewed as boring. Children’s commercials portray high excitement over toys that in reality don’t perform as shown and the excitement of shopping is often not as portrayed by advertisers.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

What a great observation Marilyn. When anything related to our pleasure sensors is over stimulated repeatedly it changes our perception of what was once considered normal. Then, when overstimulation begins to feel boring, then everything feels boring. Thank you for pointing this out.

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William

Jonathan: I appreciate the knowledge that you have given me. You are a really good writer! Great fluency and flow within your writing. ( :
I have dealt with boredom in the past and to this day it is still something that I am dealing with. You are right that boredom doesn’t always come from a lack of something, but many times it exsist within being overloaded with different tasks. I used many of the methods that you mentioned in your post all though I could do better with adding mini-vacations into my day.
Lately, I have been spending most of my time alone either in studies, writing or reading and haven’t been doing many other things outside of those that I like to do, but you see, I am kind of at a delima.
I need new friends! I love my friends that I already have (Which isn’t many lol), but the the same time they are pursuing their dreams or are in school so their money is limited. And, when we get together we do not go out very often, at least not like how we used to when we were in high school and could spend our money on going out and having fun.
I think at the end of the day, I just need to find more friends to hang out with. What do you think?

Best wishes,
William

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi William, for a socially minded person more friends can certainly seem like the best solution. And they might provide you with an important element that feels like it’s missing right now. However, in the long run, the solution will not come from external sources, but rather from an internal shift. Feelings like happiness, satisfaction, excitement, and passion need to be based on our own inner resources first. Then they can be fortified by external feedback. The way to make that shift is to connect more solidly with your true (or authentic) self. Once that happens, your entire perception changes.

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LAN

Wonderful insights and very helpful. As you rightly said, happiness is something within ourselves and anything that comes from external sources is only temporary. We often look for a reason to be happy. Being happy without any reason is the ultimate state of mind and it means a lot. I think once we learn this art, there’s a lot that can be achieved because we are always in the right state of mind and fully involve. As we see good results from our actions, we will be more energized to do even more and bring more happiness!!

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Andy Thompson

You are right about boredom. It can really eat away at you if you are not careful and you end of focusing on and resenting minor things which can eat away at you…. stay active and these thoughts will never enter your head

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Eunice

Nice article and I would like to add that naturally this would have to be the first step towards making any real change in life. If you don’t think you can become un-bored, then more than likely, you’ll be destined for a life of tedium. Staying open to the possibility of excitement and fulfillment are key. Maintaining a spirit of spontaneity wouldn’t hurt either. Right?

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