Boredom is not necessarily a sign to DO something...

27 May

Boredom is not something I traffic in.  Maybe I'm just lucky.  Or, more likely: I have cultivated my life enough to avoid it.

Nowadays I struggle more with fatigue and being productive and focused enough to perform my best when I need to and be more relaxed and present when not.

So just what is boredom?  If you ask most people they'll see it as a negative and are judgmental of themselves (or others) if they find themselves in that state of mind.  Most of us have learned from parents or teachers or society that boredom is bad, bad, bad.

Well this type of thinking comes from our critical culture.  If you are bored, that is a negative thing.  Boredom means you need to be doing something, or MORE of something or whatever.

Secretly I would say this again is a sign of the mechanistic, machine-like thinking we've adopted since the early days of the industrial revolution.

When we come from sports psych and positive psychology mindsets we look at boredom differently.

Boredom to me seems like an opportunity to find my sweet spot.  Boredom is just a signal I am either being challenged too little or I just need to learn to do 'down time' better.

Okay, so didn't I just say it's easily to judge oneself when bored? Yes, and for each of us, our relationship with boredom is unique. So what bores me might not bore you.  What brings on my boredom is different for what brings it on for you.

In fact, maybe boredom is just another word for unstructured time that is necessary.  Yes, our minds and bodies need to rest and recharge, even when we are awake.

So if your boredom comes from not challenging yourself enough, challenge yourself more, but not too much.  Living in your 'sweet spot' of life means finding the balance between too much stress and too little.

Yes, stress up to a point is good for us!

Maybe our experience of boredom is just our body and/or mind's way of telling us: you need to learn to be okay with 'not doing' for a period of time. Have you become such a 'do-er' that you've forgotten how to just 'be'?

Some of us are actually in a physiological and emotional 'crash' of a sort AFTER some big event or challenge.  We are drained or 'coming off a natural high' so to speak.  Like college students who just completed final exams.

After such a period of maxing yourself out, it makes sense you need to rest and recharge.  To live another day.  To call yourself bored or boring while going through this renewal period is just inaccurate: boredom in this case is learning to be okay with not challenging yourself for a time that is actually important, not wasteful.  

And I don't know about you but I've lived long enough to come across environments where I just didn't 'fit'.  As in, I was trying hard, but the environment was definitely reporting back: you aren't 'fitting in'.  When that's happened I get too stressed because my skills and talents don't match the environment I'm in. The 'fit' is poor.  Then I start getting 'blamed' (either by myself or those in that environment).  This leads to more stress than is ideal.  Too much stress is just as toxic for each of us as too little stress. I will usually leave such environments, unless me and my environment can work on better 'fitting together'.  As in, it's not just that I don't fit; it's also that this environment is needing to respond better to me and value what I bring to the equation.

Is 'fit' a mechanistic term?  Maybe.  It is also more biological and chemical to me.  As well as social and psychological.  So fit is more than just a mechanical term.  It's a very rich term, of you ask me.  One with many more gradations than just 'on' or 'off'.

So beware of falling into the mechanistic thinking that we are machines.  That we can 'go' all day and all night.  We are flesh and blood. We have rhythms and cycles.  Honor them...

Feel free to comment below on your thoughts and experiences with boredom.

Lots more to come on this topic...

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