Today, in our cult of productivity, boredom is often viewed as utterly inexcusable — a sin — only committed by the lazy or unsuccessful. Yet it is a vital emotion that helps you cultivate creativity, contemplation, and stillness. It is essential for the mind to be bored.
A couple of weeks back I deleted several apps from my phone: Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, Facebook, among others, in an attempt to force myself to be bored. I’m trying to let go of the things that I would usually use to ‘fill the space.’ I want to learn to be okay with just being.
We are less bored than our ancestors were, but we are more afraid of boredom. We have come to know, or rather to believe, that boredom is not part of the natural lot of man, but can be avoided by a sufficiently vigorous pursuit of excitement. — Bertrand Russell
Here is the list of things I let go of to find more boredom in the everyday:
• All Social Media
• Favorite blogs & websites
• All News websites
• YouTube (or other video sites, unless needed)
• Shopping, buying crap
• Reading more than one book at a time! Huge for me!
• Checking email on my phone
• Doing anything while eating
• Alcohol on weekdays
• Needing to do something all the time
Because distractions are a crutch, a mental habit, a refuge for the mind. They help us hide from difficult emotions, the present moment, and the fear of not being busy.
You might be thinking, “What’s wrong with a little distraction, a little mental break?”
I don’t believe there is anything wrong with letting your mind rest, but I believe we should be more aware of our constant need to take ourselves out of the present moment. We are constantly on the lookout for an escape from life.
I did not do this to be more productive. I am doing this to give my brain some much-needed rest. I am doing this to force myself to be bored. It has been hard, but some of my best insights have come from being mindfully bored, watching my thoughts, and observing my surroundings.
Here is your excuse to be bored!
I do not expect you to delete all of the apps on your phone today (although that would be awesome), but I want you to become aware of your unconscious response to boredom.
We should be more aware of our constant need to take ourselves out of the present moment.
• While you are waiting for your train or for your lunch or any other time in the day you find yourself being bored, become aware of what your initial response is.
• Do you immediately reach for your phone? Fill the silence with talking?
• Be aware of this and let the impulse pass.
• Try to just stand there and let yourself be bored
• Look around.
• Watch your breath.
Be grateful for the time you have to just be.
For more from Benjamin, visit Fully Rich Life.