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Is Boredom Sometimes Good For You?

CC0 / Pixabay / A bored woman
A bored woman - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.02.2022
Not many people enjoy being bored: it basically means we've got nothing to do or nothing to be excited about, which does not seem particularly enjoyable. But what if it is good to sometimes deal with some ennui?
Even at times when we are not busy with our jobs and other daily tasks, we delve into a lot of things to escape from boredom: from scrolling social media endlessly to indulging in junk food. However, it turns out that boredom may be an entire art - one just has to realise its less-than-obvious perks!
There are people who study boredom and why it might be good for us, and Sandi Mann, author of The Science of Boredom and Senior Psychology Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire is one of them.
According to her, boredom has a certain negative image, and if you try and look at it in a different light, you may be able to view it more positively. But first of all, one has to define it.
"It’s an emotion and is basically a search for brain stimulation that isn’t met. So, if you’re searching for something to engage you, and you’re not satisfied, that frustration is labelled as boredom,” Sandi explained.
This is something that we feel from a very young age - in fact, according to Sandi, boredom may be as good for children as it is for parents, because it may boost our creativity and drive us to learn or do something new.
Researchers also say that tedium is a state that may haunt two types of people: either those with a naturally impulsive mindset that is in constant need of something new, or those who are ultimately afraid of the world as a fearful and threatening place, so they never leave their comfort zone.
Boredom is something that can help both types to make peace with their mindsets by trying to find ways to make themselves happy. However, it does not always turn out that way: sometimes boredom pushes people to unhealthy habits and self-destruction.

“The very fact that boredom is a daily experience suggests it should be doing something useful,” Heather Lench at Texas A&M University argued, trying to ponder the reasons our emotion can sometimes lead us to self-destruction instead of something good.

Lench suggests a simple answer: curiosity. Boredom triggers our curiosity and it makes us seek out new experiences, and it only depends on us when it comes to what we will choose.
When studying what people can do when they are tasked with something dull - like copying enormous amounts of telephone numbers without a particular goal - Sandi Mann revealed that sometimes these people's boredom made their minds find a creative way to think and use things around them.
“If we don’t find stimulation externally, we look internally – going to different places in our minds,” she said. “It allows us to make leaps of imagination. We can get out of the box and think in different ways.”
According to her, if it wasn't for boredom, humanity might have never achieved its technological and artistic heights.
So the next time you're procrastinating during a dull workday or staring blankly into the window during a long journey, it may be a good time for trying and summon your creativity to help deal with the ennui!
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