Boredom can strike in many different ways. Some men and women experience it only in certain situations. Others are prone to boredom during much of their waking hours.
Whether you’re occasionally frustrated at the airport because your flight is delayed or you’re moping through each work day, you can train your mind to prevent boredom or cope with it better. Try these strategies for feeling more alert and engaged.
Dealing with Occasional Boredom
Boredom is a relatively minor issue for most adults. If you’re perky except for when you’re doing your taxes or standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, all you probably need are a few tweaks.
1. Identify your triggers. Jobs that are too hard or too easy can bore you because your mind starts to wander. You have difficulty concentrating and you want to do something else. Once you know what sets you off, you can create solutions like playing music while you vacuum the stairs or rewarding yourself with a frozen yogurt after you complete your expense reports.
2. Check your body language. Look in a mirror. Smiling and sitting up straight will liven you up instantly.
3. Drop it. Maybe you can eliminate some of the chores that make you yawn. See how much your dry cleaner charges for hemming pants or other simple tailoring. Order groceries online instead of spending your weekends in overcrowded supermarkets.
Dealing with Chronic Boredom
Psychologists believe that adults who are frequently bored tend to need a lot of novelty and variety. Understanding your personality can help you to remain safe and happy while you seek excitement.
1. Meditate on mindfulness. Build up your self-awareness. Practice monitoring your feelings and describing them. It’s the first step to accepting them. Let go of expectations. Appreciate the present moment without rehashing your last conflict at the office or anticipating how slow rush hour traffic will be.
2. Lengthen your attention span. Strengthen your powers of concentration. Greater focus makes life more interesting. Find activities that give you a flow experience where time flies by. Time yourself when you need to tackle tedious jobs. Ten minutes of filing at a time may be your comfort level.
3. Consider the consequences. The downside of sensation seeking is that you may put yourself at risk for overeating or other excesses. Think before you surrender to impulses so you’ll make constructive choices.
4. Reach out to others. On the bright side, you’re likely to be a people person. Surround yourself with supportive family and friends. Talk with your partner if your marriage feels stale. A second honeymoon or a couples gym membership may help you to restore your connection.
Dealing with Any Form of Boredom
There are also some strategies that can be effective for banishing any type of listlessness. Try these tips to restore your enthusiasm.
1. Think about your purpose. Engaging in meaningful activities fights fatigue and increases your satisfaction with life. Ask yourself how your profession or your hobbies contribute to your health and wellbeing.
2. Go offline. Some experts speculate that hours of YouTube videos and Netflix binges may interfere with our ability to entertain ourselves. Take a break from the computer each day to play the piano or bake a cake.
3. Loosen up. By definition, boredom is a state of arousal. If you can feel at home with a little down time, those intervals cease to be boring.
Think of slow computers and long movie trailers as an opportunity to relax instead of feeling trapped. Boring moments can remind you to devote your time to meaningful activities and develop patience for the routine delays that are part of modern life.