When I hear this from my kids, I roll my eyes and laugh. They have no idea that to be bored is such a luxury! We should all be so lucky to be bored!
In the fast paced world we live in, we often find ourselves running from one obligation to another without taking any time for ourselves. When we do find a few spare minutes, most of us are still being stimulated via our phones, laptops or tablets. Whether checking emails as we wait for an appointment or playing Angry Birds at the DMV, our brains are constantly active. Finding some “me time” where we can decompress, sit quietly and do nothing is essential in keeping our sanity.
I grew up on an island in Washington state, accessible only by a 15 minutes ferry ride. After graduation and before moving into the city, I would ride the ferries on a daily basis to get to work and back. During those 15 minutes, I would watch the waves or gaze over the city, never realizing the incredible benefit that I was getting. I often think back to these ferry rides and miss this mandatory down time.
Being bored is a luxury we all need to reflect on our past to achieve. As children, it came easy. As we grow up, it becomes a skill that many of us have to reacquire as we become more consumed with our busy schedules. My first time practicing “boredom,” I found it incredibly difficult to sit quietly for a few minutes, let alone 15 minutes. I fidgeted with my hands, thought of errands to run and planned the menu for dinner. I had this overwhelming desire to do something (ANYTHING!) to keep me from sitting quietly. How could this madness actually benefit my mental health?!
I kept at it though, determined to be able to do nothing and enjoy it! Over time, my fidgeting turned to relaxation. Soon after I felt the peace and tranquility in allowing myself to just be. Taking this time to ourselves teaches us to clear our minds and relax. It gives our brains a chance to step away from the stimulation of the everyday world and refresh. Our brains need this opportunity to rest in order to stay focused and strong for the rest of our crazy busy day.
Believe me, I do not allocate a large portion of my day to “being bored.” I have a job, a family, schoolwork and other obligations that take the larger chunks of my day. I look at each transition from one activity to the next as an opportunity. I don’t mind having to wait a few extra minutes for my dentist appointment or the girls telling me they need a few extra minutes in a shop, I can wait quietly, clear my head and take advantage of this valuable time to be bored.
Try it for a few minutes each day for a week, I think you’ll be amazed. Let me know how it goes.