The best perspective I've heard describes boredom as a call for engagement / stimulation.
Your mind is signaling it wants to be challenged, to be given better options, to be doing something more meaningful. It’s asking for a change.
If the boredom you experience is felt in the daily work, routines and becomes the normal – truly – a change should be considered. Don’t let boredom turn into apathy. Boredom is based on a desire for more engagement, while apathy is resigning yourself to the circumstance.
A person sitting on a couch watching endless days/weeks/years of TV is an example of apathy. If there’s nothing compelling you to engage beyond mindless activity, the void of desire demonstrates a passing from boredom to apathy. In this light, boredom is a fantastic signal that your mind is craving engagement.
If reading this makes you realize you’ve become apathetic – often the awareness will spark a realization that you ARE bored. That’s a step in the right direction; it’s an awakening.
Boredom is opportunity.
If there’s a signal being sent asking for engagement, connect with it. What we do with boredom is our choice. Do we recognize it’s value and use it to motivate change? Or do we settle into apathy, and disengage?
It’s been said that boredom is the mother of innovation. I’ll put a spin on it and suggest that boredom is the mother of creativity. Don’t run from it – engage with it.
And don’t default to escapism and fill it with comforts and coping activities (even if they’re things we love doing, eg. video games, movies, entertainments, etc.). Opt-in for the deeper dive. Learn from it. Explore what would better fulfill your desire for meaningful engagement; it will lead you to your passions and interests. The very act of wrestling with boredom will become a creative exercise.
How can you problem solve your desire, create a different outcome and connect to what your really need?
How Can You Use Boredom? What options are available?
- Connect with your thoughts; sit in awareness. Are you drifting somewhere else? Where is it?
- Where can you intentionally redirect your thoughts? Learning to pull yourself into awareness can offer insight (about yourself or the circumstance).
- Is there a takeaway / lesson from what you’re doing and/or experiencing?
- Are you in a place where you SHOULD be engaged, but are not (eg. your job)? Does this happen often?
- What other words best describe your feeling (other than bored)?
- Is there a way to change the present situation? Can it be altered by an action?
- Make a plan. Use what you learn in reflection of boredom.