Have you ever heard a child whine, “I’m bored,” or “There’s nothing fun to do?” Children are not shy to tell adults how they feel – especially when they think life is dull. These emotions are not exclusive to kids. It’s quite common for adults to feel bored or lose interest in things. Examples include having a wandering mind while someone is talking, falling asleep watching an uninspiring documentary on television, or sitting around while trying to think of something to do. Occasional boredom is normal and temporary, unlike more serious underlying diseases such as chronic boredom or depression that can interfere with daily living. Occasional boredom can easily be resolved by changing up one’s routine, getting creative juices going, and discovering something interesting, helpful, or entertaining to do.
The human mind is wired to be engaged. While some mundane tasks can provide repetitive comfort, most are considered boring and cause us to seek more challenging adventures. Ultimately, people crave mental stimulation, challenges, and meaningful goals. Like kids who are bored, adults can redirect their attention to overcome feelings of boredom by seeking out new activities. In other words, adults need to do something engaging, fun, challenging, or simply different. Here are six sensational ways to engage the mind to beat the “boredom blues.”
- Contact a friend and invite them to do something entertaining. Some folks wait for invitations to gather or enjoy an activity. To knock boredom, why not take the first step? Ask a friend to take a walk in the park, make plans to meet up for movies or shopping, or invite a group of friends to dinner where conversations and fun can be experienced.
- Discover an exciting hobby. Hobbies are a great way to pass time – and there are millions of them that can be enjoyed solo or in groups. Examples of pleasing hobbies include painting, woodworking, paper crafting, photography, fishing, sewing, baking, knitting, running, and more. Not sure which hobby is best for you? Google lists of hobbies and try different new ones or pick up old ones from childhood that you enjoyed, such as painting rocks or building birdhouses.
- Join fun groups. If you believe your boredom is associated with isolation, join a fun group. If you can sing, join a choir; if you can dance or hope to learn, take ballroom dance lessons; if cooking gives you pleasure, take, or teach a cooking course. Not only will doing something you love deliver pleasure, but joining groups allows you to share happy moments with others.
- Get your body moving. Whether you exercise indoors to a televised fitness routine, head to an aerobics class, or go for walks or runs, physical fitness can help improve the body and the mind. It is widely known that people who exercise regularly experience improved emotional and mental wellbeing. Since exercise boosts mood, increases concentration and alertness, and benefits health overall, get moving to stop the boredom.
- Read a good book. Reading is a pleasurable activity that offers many benefits, including engaging and opening the mind. Not only does reading increase memory and focus, but it also reduces stress and improves mental health. Scientific tests are studying the impact of reading on longevity, as reading is believed to be associated with living longer. Since reading immerses the reader in adventures, and sweeps them to new experiences and places, it captivates the mind. That’s why it’s hard to put a good book down.
- Volunteer. Why not put your boredom to use by making a difference in the life of another person or animal? Examples of volunteer work include serving meals at a homeless shelter, working in a pet shelter, becoming a museum guide, teaching vacation Bible School, helping to park cars at a community gathering, preparing meals for families in need, mentoring by becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, and so forth. Volunteering is one of the best ways to fill time because it is productive and emotionally fulfilling.
Most people can easily shake boredom blues by engaging in hobbies and activities that are enjoyable. Chronic boredom is problematic as it tends to rear its ugly head and stick around. Thus, those with longstanding boredom should seek medical advice. However, for most, a positive change in routine can improve moods. People who experience some bouts of boredom should seek new opportunities, discover ways to be creative, and be open to helping others. Bottom line is don’t sit around wallowing in boredom. Instead, use it as motivation to get up, get out, and share the gift of yourself with the world.
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