Beating boredom: It's all a state of mind

Boredom is no place for a brain to be. Stimulate your mind with these ideas  — asking questions, changing your environment, laughing, and giving thanks.

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  • Boredom. We all know what it feels like. The listless lounging, the woeful wandering, the persistent sense that life ought to be a lot more interesting.

  • What we don’t know, of course, is how to fix it — until now. In this article, we’ll learn some strategies for conquering boredom. We'll ask ourselves questions, switch up our environment, laugh, and have gratitude. You’ll be beating the blahs in no time.

  • Ask questions

  • I have a friend who constantly asks herself things like “What’s my biggest priority?” “How did I get where I am now?” “Who can I help today?” These kinds of questions lead to critical thinking about what you want to be doing. That’s much better than thinking about how annoying it is to be bored.

  • For example, I found myself lazily perusing social media — again. It was boring. I asked myself what my other priorities were and how I could help someone else today. Then, I started writing this article. Boredom solved.

  • Change your setting

  • My English teachers always taught me that setting meant “time” and “place.” If you can change your time, then you have a time machine. So shame on you for being bored.

  • Since you don’t have a time machine, however, you’re left addressing just “place” like the rest of us. Try going somewhere else — to the park, the mall, even to the mailbox. It may be enough to kick-start your day. Of course, your sense of place depends on all of your senses, not just sight. Auditory and tactile stimulation motivates me to get moving and gets me out of the “I’m bored” rut. Also, if a certain smell excites you, get a candle in that scent and light it when you get tired of what you're doing. It sounds like a tacky idea, but even tacky is more interesting than — blah.

  • Laugh

  • Perhaps you’re bored because you’ve been working too hard. This is certainly true of my husband. Graduate-level coursework doesn’t always leave time to dig deep and get interested in what he’s learning, which leads to shallow understanding and, inevitably, boredom. So, we watch silly kids’ movies, have tickle fights on the couch and make funny faces all weekend. By Monday, he’s exercised his laughing muscles enough to engage properly in class again.

  • The next time you get bored consider if you really just need a break. Drink a big glass of water, learn a new joke, or run up and down the stairs. Whichever you choose, the spontaneity may just jolt you out of tedium.

  • Be grateful

  • A wise blessing states, “may you have time enough in your day and peace enough in your heart to have a little boredom now and then.” Look around and be thankful the next time you are bored. Even if, you’re tired of the same old routine at home, wishing your job was more engaging, or even wondering if your spouse was more interesting before you had kids, stop and be grateful. Chances are things are quiet and peaceful. Let those reminders nudge you out of boredom and into gratitude today.

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  • Boredom doesn’t have to limit what you accomplish or enjoy anymore. When you are bored, liven up again by asking yourself questions. Take a walk — anywhere, and take a moment to laugh and be grateful.

  • Our brains are incredible, and they don’t have to feel limp and lifeless. So get off the couch and do something amazing.

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Sara Hagmann is a stay-at-home wife and writer who loves traveling, cooking, and kissing her husband. A lot.

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