We’re sure that few of you will have heard of the Bliss-Boredom Principle because we’ve just made that up. Like pleasure and pain, they form two sides of the same coin.
Look closely at people around you. Those who express joy and gratitude in the small things of life are very rarely bored.
So, the answer to how to cure boredom is simple. Like most things in life, it’s a question of attitude. If you need some inspiration on how to start cultivating sustainable joie de vivre, then check out the eight ideas we’ve cobbled together for you below.
1. Change How You Talk To Yourself
Wandering about at home in the middle of the morning in your pajamas, dragging your slippers along the floor and mumbling that you’re so bored is not going to—miraculously—inject excitement into your life. It will not suddenly make your life interesting, and it will not make you feel better or less bored.
One thing that you can do in the middle of the morning in your pajamas is stretch your hands up as high as they go and look out of the window while you proclaim, “It’s a lovely day today.” It doesn’t matter if it’s raining. Rainy days and cloudy days are great for reading or drinking soup or tidying the bookshelf, or writing lists.
The point is that the act of saying it is a lovely day will propel you into making it just that. It will put you in a positive frame of mind.
2. Write a List
No, we’re not talking about a To-Do list. We’re talking about a Things-That-I-Love list.
Take a nice big piece of paper. Get a thick, bright marker, or a wax crayon from your kid’s pencil box. On one side of the page, write all the things you love doing in big letters. On the other side, write all the things that you don’t love doing so much – in smaller letters.
If you like, this can be an exercise for the whole family. And you can all sit around the kitchen table while you’re doing it. Doodling is allowed.
We all know that daily home life includes things that we might not love. Doing the dishes, the laundry, dusting, cleaning windows, unblocking the drain.
Making peace with the necessary but not-so-nice chores does two things. First, it makes the chores seem less of a pain. Because the chores seem less tiresome, you get them done more quickly.
Now, you’re free to do the Things You Love. There is a bit of a catch to this list-writing exercise. It has a Step 2.
The second step involves planning when you’re going to do the things you love. If you’re routine-averse, this does not have to be a specific time, like 18:45. A simple “early Wednesday evening” will do.
The thing about planning is that it makes you look forward to an activity. It motivates you. And feeling motivated is the opposite of feeling bored.
3. Be More Active and Less Passive
Chronic boredom often stems from having too much of a passive lifestyle. Watching TV for hours, scrolling endlessly on your smartphone, playing computer games that don’t involve another human being all count as passive activities.
TV, stuff on your device and computer games are all enjoyable—otherwise, why would they take up so much of our time?—but they lack the requirement for you to be actively doing something. Lack of action on your part is what results in you getting bored.
Sure, we all need to relax. Many of us have stressful jobs that make blobbing in front of the TV a welcome relief at the end of the day.
Varying our pattern to include some activity that involves using our hands, moving our body around, or conversing with family or friends will take you off that passive, boring circuit and into the active sphere.
It’s a surefire way to avoid boredom and depression – boredom’s scary cousin. We not saying that depression is always and only caused by boredom, just that boredom can lead to depression and make it harder to dig yourself out of a hole.
Research has shown that people with active hobbies, also called purposeful activities, are often doing better on the mental health and wellbeing scales.
4. Cure Boredom By Cultivating an Interest
Ideally, the interest you cultivate should be something that you can do daily, without radically changing every other aspect of your life. Our advice is to start small. For one, it means that you don’t have to rush out and buy a whole lot of specialized equipment.
Fill your spare minutes or hours with:
- learning a new skill, like how to make apple pie, or use a vacuum cleaner
- doing some form of exercise (outdoors, if possible), or team sports, or yoga by yourself
- reading to yourself or aloud to others, including kids, your peers, and grandparents
- listening to music, singing, learning to play the bongos
- making things out of paper, plastic, wood, metal
- drawing with pastels, an online drawing app, or a stick in the sand
The most important thing is that you find something meaningful for you that you can enjoy and cultivate as your knowledge of that thing or skill at doing it improves.
So, on the subject of cultivating, there is always gardening. Voltaire said one should cultivate one’s garden (“il faut cultiver son jardin“), thereby forever linking philosophy and gardening.
One word—gardening—can mean so many different things. It includes something as simple as minding your miniature cactus in a pot on a windowsill (surrounded by sand, which you rake into different patterns every day). It could also mean that you give yourself—or your tractor—a serious workout as you turn your backyard into a source of food in times of shortage.
The physical aspect of gardening—bending down to tend to a tomato plant in a pot on the balcony, or removing boulders from the middle of a field—engages both your body and your mind. The body part is obvious, but the mental part is subtle. As your project develops, you will find that all those empty hours when you used to be bored are now full of happy thoughts about what you’re going to do next.
If you’re new to gardening, there are loads of helpful videos online, no matter what you’re trying to grow. They are beneficial in that they will spark your imagination as to how you can do the same thing with the resources you already have to hand. And then you can blog or mini-blog about it, creating a virtual social circle of your own.
We know that not everyone believes they have green fingers, but the antidepressant properties of soil have been proven time and again. Clue: you have to get in touch with the stuff!
Once you’ve got your daily hobby in place, you’ll soon feel the need to share your experience with others. Sharing is another way to cure boredom, by the way, because it invites other people’s perspectives on things. This is where mini-blogging comes to the fore.
AliveBetter has the best rundown of all the different options available. There is a format to suit, quite literally, every taste and capability. Get your creative juices flowing – and sign up to at least one, or make a fresh start on your existing platform.
As a mini-blogger, the mere fact that you need at least one sentence or one photo a day will get your mind going, and banish the “I’m feeling bored!” refrain from your repertoire for good!
7. Sing—and Dance—Your Way Out of Boredom
Whether you live on your own or in a multi-generational household, singing for just a few minutes every day will liven things up. Those suffering from chronic boredom could try this as a baby step towards healing. We do not care if you say you cannot sing, and neither should you.
If you live alone, one great way to do this is to play some music and sing along. Learn the words of the song, and sing it repeatedly until you know it by heart.
If you are a parent, you can do this with children of any age. The important thing is to open your mouth and make songful sounds.
Of course, you can dance while you’re singing as well. Or just dance.
But do it. Just do it. Do it with your whole family, and do it with friends via video online.
Join a Virtual Choir
COVID-19 has forced us to rethink our leisure activities. One way to connect in this social distancing disconnect is to join a virtual choir, like the Great British Home Chorus
Join a Virtual Dance Group
Check out #shutupanddancenz or similar on Instagram. It’s like taking selfies, only moving ones. Dancing with others (even if you’re not good at dancing) is a wonderful way to release all those stress bubbles and prevent boredom. Try it!
8. Start Drawing
You can’t draw? Hello! Well, yes, you can if you take some online lessons.
You can also find all sorts of drawing apps for your phone and simply make random, colorful patterns on the screen with your index finger. Share them, or use the results for all those memes you’ve been thinking up about how to cure boredom.
It’s Gotta Come From You
The secret about how to cure boredom is that it’s got to come from you. Someone can encourage you, but you’re the one who has to make the choice. It’s up to you how you spend your time.
You have a wealth of creativity and ideas within you. Use other articles on our blog to springboard your inspiration. Write your Things-That-I-Love list, and get going: banish boredom and live your life to the full!