I’m not often bored these days, but I certainly have been bored before.
I don’t like it. Not one bit.
I’m curious about boredom. I want to know what causes it and why some people seem to experience boredom constantly, while others rarely or never do.
Boredom feels bad, but it seems different from other feelings. What exactly is boredom, anyway?
I was puzzling over this when this article on 5 types of boredom came to my attention. The article describes and labels boredom, but doesn’t explain it.
Why do we sometimes feel bored?
It’s easy to list the kinds of things that trigger anger, sadness or fear.
For example, when someone mistreats an animal, I get angry.
When someone I care about moves away or dies, it makes me sad.
Horror movies, riots, Simon Cowell … these trigger fear in me.
But what triggers boredom?
Boredom as Self-Alienation
When I think back to times in my life when I’ve felt an unpleasant, negative sense of boredom, they all have one thing in common.
In boredom, I feel alienated from myself.
Nothing sounds good to me because it’s like there’s no “me” there.
Reading a book, calling a friend, taking a walk, going to the gym… nothing sounds like something that would break me out of this awful sense of therebutnotthere-ness.
What if boredom is just self-alienation?
If it is, then the cure for boredom is to reconnect with oneself.
The following exercise from my book, Constructive Wallowing, helps you focus on your heart and may help pull you out of boredom.
The next time one of us is bored, let’s agree to try this and see if it helps, okay?
How to Connect With Your Heart
(I’ve adapted this from the book version for when you’re feeling bored.)
When you have some time and privacy, get comfortable and place a hand over your heart.
Breathe normally for a minute, then…
Imagine that each breath you take is nourishing your heart.
As you in inhale, each breath feeds, soothes, and nurtures your aching heart.
Imagine your heart being grateful for your breath…
If simply breathing into your heart doesn’t bring you back to yourself, you might want to ask your heart a question.
You might ask your heart, “What do you need?,” “How can I be closer to you?,” or “What do you want me to know?”
You’ll know your heart is speaking to you if you start to feel emotional.
Emotions may be to boredom what light is to darkness.
Feeling something, anything, may banish boredom just as flicking on a light makes the darkness disappear.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Or I will, if I’m ever bored again.
(As long as I have you to talk to, I don’t see it happening.)
Do you have a favorite tip for breaking out of boredom? Please share it by leaving a comment below.