We’re sure that few of you will have heard of the Bliss-Boredom Principle because we’ve just made that up. But, like pleasure and pain, they form two sides of the same coin.
Look closely at the people around you. Those who express joy and gratitude in life’s small things are 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 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 exciting and will not make you feel better or less bored.
One thing 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 the window while proclaiming, “It’s a lovely day today.” It doesn’t matter if it’s raining. Rainy and cloudy days are great for reading, drinking soup, tidying the bookshelf, or writing lists.
The point is that 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 you don’t love doing so much – in smaller notes.
If you like, this can be an exercise for the whole family. And you can all sit around the kitchen table while doing it. Doodling is allowed.
We all know daily home life includes things we might not love. For example, doing the dishes, the laundry, dusting, cleaning windows, and unblocking the drain.
Making peace with the necessary but not-so-nice chores do two things. First, it makes the tasks seem less of a pain. Because the duties seem less tiresome, you get them done more quickly.
Now, you’re free to do the Things You Love. However, there is a bit of a catch to this list-writing exercise. It has a Step 2.
The second step involves planning when you will do the things you love. Again, 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 the 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 sedentary lifestyle. Watching TV for hours, scrolling endlessly on your smartphone, and 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. However, many of us have stressful jobs that make bobbling 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 are 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, often do better on the mental health and well-being scales.
4. Cure Boredom By Cultivating an Interest
Ideally, the interest you cultivate should be something you can do daily without radically changing every other aspect of your life. So our advice is to start small. You don’t have to rush out and buy 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), 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 finding something meaningful you can enjoy and cultivate as your knowledge of that thing or skill improves.
So, on the subject of cultivating, there is always gardening. Voltaire said one should develop 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 daily). It could also mean that you give yourself—or your tractor—a serious workout as you turn your backyard into a food source 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 your body and mind. The body part is prominent, but the mental aspect 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 will do next.
If you’re new to gardening, there are loads of helpful videos online, no matter what you try to grow. They are beneficial because they will spark your imagination about how to do the same thing with your existing resources. And then, you can blog or mini-blog about it, creating your virtual social circle.
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 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. So get your creative juices flowing – 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 alone or in a multi-generational household, singing for just a few minutes daily 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, nor should you.
If you live alone, one great way to do this is to play some music and sing along. Learn the song’s words, 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 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 beautiful way to release all those stress bubbles and prevent boredom. Try it!
8. Start Drawing
Can’t you 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 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 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 a 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. So write your Things-That-I-Love list, and get going: banish boredom and live your life to the full!