One of the concepts that I have difficulty relating to is boredom.
I’m seldom bored, but I frequently hear others complain that they are. It’s not a subject that I’ve studied a whole lot, but I think that I’ve had enough experience in avoiding boredom to enable me to help others by sharing my thoughts on the matter.
Let’s start with the most obvious bit of advice. It’s hard to be busy and bored at the same time – so one of the keys to avoiding boredom is to have enough activities on your plate to not leave time for boredom to creep in.
Next, there is a difference between being bored and having nothing to do. Boredom is a negative and unenjoyable experience but, if you are the type of person who seeks enjoyment as an ongoing part of the experience of living, you can embrace those times when you have nothing to do. The practice of mindfulness teaches us to live in the now – even if that “now” involves not being particularly productive at the moment.
On a more encompassing level, staying stuck is boring. If you feel that you are not moving forward, and you are not making plans to change direction, that is a particularly concerning type of boredom. It means that there is nothing to look forward to and no strategies to get you out of your funk. It is a small step from that type of boredom to depression.
Although I’m not exactly unbiased, I think that one of the real contributions of Goal-Achieving Psychotherapy is that it creates a structure that enables individuals to avoid boredom. Setting positive goals leads to the recognition that any periods of “down time” are temporary stops along the way to achieving goals. Those stops can be recognized as being temporary, and they can be embraced with the recognition that goals will prevent boredom from becoming a way of life.
What do you think?