Why You Need Boredom

Boredom. It’s practically a foreign concept with the internet supplying us with an endless stream of entertainment. However, it’s during the summer months that kids discover and are able to explore the feeling of being bored, having nothing to do for what seems like an eternity. It’s apparent, though, that having a blank mind and lacking things to stimulate your brain can actually lead to further stimulation and progress. Thinking of new ideas and using the creative nook of your brain can make you both more productive and entertained.

In neuroscience research, it has been discovered that there is a “default brain network” that contains thoughts of current concerns, past memories, how one sees themselves, and even dreams; it is essentially our “inner stream of consciousness” according to Scott Barry Kaufman of “Psychology Today”. In his article about daydreamers, it explains that those with a more active default brain network tend to be more creative. Daydreaming is one way that people tend to lose themselves in their minds and succumb to the feeling of boredom, taking their imagination and creative thoughts to another level. While daydreaming may not be everyone’s favorite activity, the attitude that boredom should be embraced is a habit that those who daydream possess. 

For three weeks, I had an internship at a math technology company called KnowRe. While I greatly appreciated the knowledge and advice being directly and indirectly fed to me during my time there, I was tasked with doing menial and tedious tasks that required little to no brain power to complete. I was left feeling bored out of my mind and spacing out for many minutes at a time. It was in these moments that I was left to my thoughts and I delved deep into the problems in the world around me. I thought up the plot to an entire musical, composed the score, and performed it all in the span of an hour. None of this was actually materialized or put into the real world, but it provided a safe place for me to exercise my strangest and most imaginative ideas where they couldn’t be judged or analyzed. It was fun, something I wasn’t able to have on my own for years. I felt like a kid again, choreographing a dance in my living room and trying to dress up my brother (although he aggressively refused); nothing was off-limits and no ideas were too big. This feeling of bliss in a personalized mental adventure can be accessed again through embracing boredom. 

Today, technology addiction seems to be thriving and growing through the younger generations quicker than before. Although the proliferation of technological reliance is an adamant goal of technology companies and businesses, it’s important to take a break for your own mind and just think to yourself. Being bored can often bring a sense of anxiety and make you antsy if you’re not used to it. Most people ache to simply fill the hole that boredom leaves in our day when no other activities are able to satisfy such cravings. Instead of checking that Snapchat message or Instagram comment, take a second. Maybe a minute, or maybe even an hour. Let your thoughts flow wildly like you’re five years old again, staring at the sky full of buoyant clouds and make way for the boredom sink in. Get over the tough feeling of dissatisfaction first, because then you can take advantage of that moment to yourself. Boredom is not a one-time thing, it becomes habitual. Don’t rob yourself from the true human experience, and bore yourself to oblivious euphoria.