As I’ve been going through a pile of partially-read magazines before I donate them to a nursing home, I stumbled across a Cambridge University article on the uses of boredom.
Most technology (especially the smart phone) is supposed to make life easier and leave us time to spend elsewhere. Instead, the technology seems to absorb our time even more.
However, brain MRIs (that catalogue different brain functions) show that our brains operate at a high state even when we don’t give them anything to do. And that down time may actually be essential to our well-being. Applying what we’ve learned (even when we may be appearing to do nothing) is central to many valuable behaviors.
Nevertheless, boredom and focused non-action may not be exactly the same. Anyone who is committed to meditation or to living mindfully knows the benefits of taking time every day to clear the mind and simply be. And yet, it’s challenging because the mind likes having things to do.
Yet boredom can actually be a necessary part of our rhythms. We can’t always be stimulated (or stimulating). We can’t always be doing.
In fact, when refugees in camps are given opportunities to establish microbusinesses in camps, the previous enforced inactivity often spurs great bursts of economic activity and a sense of purpose.
Haven’t you found that yourself? Often inactivity (whether chosen or not) often results in a period of creativity.
Our minds-and our hearts-need downtime in order for us to do our best and to express our potential,
May we pursue our paths, respecting our rhythms, and giving our minds and hearts time off so we can be our best selves and express our potential,