It’s normal to feel bored every once in a while, but chronic boredom can be emotionally and physically painful. It occurs when we don’t have a solid understanding of where to put our energies or how we enjoy spending time. It’s especially prevalent when we’re forced into an activity—be it a project or job—that we don’t enjoy.
Boredom can also occur when we’re blocked from what we really want to do. And it can increase the risk for substance abuse, depression, anxiety and overall angst. Here are four ways to battle boredom:
1. Cultivate curiosity. Try something new or take up a hobby—and don’t let fear or judgment stop you.
2. Get to know yourself. Identify and understand the activities you like and dislike, and who you enjoy spending your time with. This comes in handy when planning for challenging times.
3. Commit to a short goal. This provides a sense of direction and focus. Following through affords a sense of purpose and boosts self-esteem.
4. Meditate. Our minds are active when we’re bored. But since we don’t know where to put our mental energy, we usually end up feeling frustrated. Meditation reduces stress, increasing creativity and emotional attunement.