Top 10 Things You Should Do When You’re Bored
In an age where life moves faster than ever, it’s a surprise that boredom has been able to endure so long. But, boredom is a natural state in life that is often more a reflection of the person who is bored than the situation they are in.
Boredom often comes when you stop learning, moving or progressing in life. When you’re bored, you’re often unable to concentrate or focus on a single task or any task at all. Whether it was in math class at school or in a dull conference presentation, almost everyone has experienced boredom.
When you are bored, you often reach for something to distract you from how you feel. Some people switch on the TV while others reach for food; you look for anything that you can do to distract yourself from boredom in any way possible.
One of the conditions of boredom is that you have to have energy. To be truly bored, you need to have the energy to do something else, even if you aren’t sure what it is. The second cause of boredom is often psychological. Boredom can come from anxiety or stress, even if you don’t realize that you feel anxious or stressed out.
Curing boredom is not just about finding something to do in the moment, you can help prevent yourself from being bored all together by doing one or more of these top 10 things that you should do when you’re bored.
Read a Book
As a kid, both your parents and your teachers would tell you to go read a book if you were bored at school or home. If you resisted the notion as a child, you should start embracing it now. Reading is not simply a hobby for the introverted. In fact, reading has a huge number of benefits for your brain which makes it the perfect thing to do when there’s nothing else to keep your attention.
One big benefit of reading is that it keeps your brain active and engaged. Some studies have suggested that the act of reading can help ward off degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, later in life. One study looked at a group of 294 men and women in their 80s and tested their memory and critical thinking skills. They were also asked about how much time they spent reading and writing both as children and throughout adulthood.
After the participant’s died, their brains underwent examination to find physical evidence for degenerative brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. The study ultimately found that people who had enjoyed these activities both early and later in life had a slower late of memory decline. Even those who showed a significant amount disease had a slower progression rate than people who did not keep themselves intellectually stimulated.
In addition to preventing Alzheimer’s, books teach you new words and concepts and ensure that you are learning every day. All of the new words and amusing anecdotes that you learn from books will come in handy at parties, at work and even with amusing yourself on your morning commute.
Train Your Brain
Training your brain is a great way to engage with something and alleviate boredom. Like reading, training your brain has a huge number of benefits because it helps keep problems like Alzheimer’s at bay. Your brain is not the sole product of your genes and your family history, however. You can train your brain to work more efficiently and even make yourself smarter.
To train your brain, you want to exercise as much of your brain as possible at one time. There are many different neural circuits in your brain, and each circuit supports some kind of function from your emotions and your cognition to the executive functions that your brain imposes on your body. You want to work as much of it as one time to improve it.
A few great ways to train your brain and alleviate boredom include playing online games. Websites, such as Lumosity, offer you the chance to play games that work to ensure that each part of your brain is getting involved in the game. The games are not difficult; in fact, they are engaging and fun.
Only 10 minutes a day could lead you to seeing improvements in how fast you can take in and process information. Some websites will even give your results so that you can see how much you improved and what your strengths and weaknesses are.
Get Some Exercise
Whether you are at home, work or waiting for a friend, getting some exercise can help get rid of your boredom. Exercise is too commonly associated with weight loss or weight maintenance, but exercise does so much more for your whole body than just burn calories.
Exercising is said to help people be more creative. A recent study published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal said that people who exercise regularly performed higher on creative tests than those who live more sedentary lives.
In the study, scientists interviewed 48 athletes and 48 people who did not exercise regularly. When asked to perform creative tasks like finding the connections between a series of words, the athletes performed better than the non-athletes.
Exercise is also said to provide other great benefits. It is suggested that it can help you relax by alleviating your anxiety. It is also said to help you sharpen your memory and boost our overall brain power. Finally, exercise is suggested to help keep your stress down and help keep you feeling and even looking like your happiest self.
To get a healthy amount of exercise, you are not required to train for a marathon or fork over big bucks to your local CrossFit box. Instead, simply taking a 30 minute walk outside can help you achieve all of these benefits. If you cannot get outside, you might consider doing things like stretching, yoga or a small set of bodyweight exercises.
If you need a boost of creativity because you are bored at work, consider learning some yoga postures for when you are your desk. All you need is five or ten minutes of light stretching and productive breathing to cure your boredom and get back in the game. If you are afraid of looking silly in front of your co-workers, don’t worry. After you starting being more creative and productive than ever, you might notice that you have a small following of mid-day desk yogis.
Listen to a Podcast
Podcasts are a lot of fun for anybody who has ever been busy, yet still bored. If you’re working on a tedious but necessary job either at home or at work, a podcast can help keep you entertained while still keeping you engaged with the task at hand.
Podcasts are great because you can listen to them at home and on the go. They are easily accessible, and you can download them onto computers, iPods, MP3 players and cell phones. There are a huge number of applications that help store and organize your podcasts, and some devices, such as the iPhone, even come preinstalled with these applications.
Podcasts are great for when you are bored because you can easily start and stop them when you need to. You can choose a podcast that is long or short or somewhere in between. Either way if you get interrupted, you can simply press pause and return to it later.
Podcasts are blowing up and chances are you can find one in an area that interests you. Whether you are interested in developing further knowledge in a subject you are passionate about or you are curious about the world and want to learn a little bit of everything, you can find a podcast for you.
If you’re an expert in your field and you’re passionate about what you do, you could even share your knowledge with the world through a podcast. Podcasts are becoming a new form of teaching and you might be surprised where it takes you.
If you dedicate a little bit of time to recording and edit your podcast, your podcast could soon take off in a place on the Internet that you never knew existed.
Get a Side Job
Most people, no matter where they are in life, could use a little bit of extra cash. If you have time to be bored then you probably have time to make a little extra money that is good for paying off bills, saving for a rainy day or even just some weekend fun money.
If you spend your time at home or at work busy being bored, you can sign up for a wide variety of online programs and services that will enable you to add some extra income to your household. Whether you’re doing some mind-numbing data entry or you’re test-driving a new career, you can get online and find yourself a side job that can either supplement or maybe even replace your current income.
If you have always had an interest in graphics and design, you can get your feet wet through online services like Fiverr or oDesk. On these websites, you can compete for low pressure work. You can learn more about what it takes to be a graphic designer without having to leave the comfort and stability of your day job. You may even just do it on the side as a way to actively engage your creative side.
If you’re happy at work and have more down time that you’re not sure what to do with, you can do freelance work just to keep you occupied. Whether you want to offer a service like teaching English, creative writing or just filling in market research surveys, you can spend your down time making extra cash instead of wondering what to do next.
Connect with Someone
In a social age, people are told that they are constantly connecting with others and that they are now hyper-social. While this is true to an extent, staring at your friends’ vacation photos is not the same as catching up with them in person.
If you and your closest friends have been separated by distance, time or hectic schedules, consider connecting with someone around you. Whether it’s a colleague at work or a barista at your café, if you take a few minutes to initiate a friendly relationship with another person you can improve your life on the whole.
When you connect with other people, you learn more about yourself and about the world. The Internet is wild and exciting place but in many cases, newsfeeds and timelines are so well curated that it is hard to see what is real. It’s not hard to understand why it is so easy to get bored when the world is seen through a filter.
Instead of adding to a collection of connections online, take five minutes to talk to someone that you see every day but know nothing about. If the connection is real, you may find that you are never bored again.
In addition to the personal benefits that making connections has on your health and life, learning to connect with people can help you at work as well. New research has suggested that people who work at initiating and maintaining relationships with other people are more likely to succeed at work.
Just Keep Moving
Sometimes it is better just to keep moving pointlessly than to stand still impatiently. If you find yourself bored, get started on all of the things that you know you have to do in the future. Whether it is paying bills or renewing your driver’s license four months early, sometimes it is better just to keep your hands busy to prevent them from being idle.
Don’t make this activity stressful though. Unless these things are high priority, you do not need to run around creating chaos to get them done. If you have 45 minutes between meetings or appointments, you can spend that time working on another project that is not related to what you are otherwise doing that day.
You might even take your idle time to do something that you’ve never done before. Plenty of places both near and far go completely unexplored. A surprising number of people will live in a city or town for decades and still find that there are new areas to be explored. If you go somewhere you’ve never been before and just keep moving, you might be surprised at where you end up someday.
Watch a Film
If you have ever had a movie reference go right over your head, you should take the time that you are bored to watch a film you have never seen. Watching films is more than just way to relax, escape and finally figure out that quote you don’t understand. Both your body and your brain are affected by cinema in ways that you may not notice.
The reason that people love films is because they send you information emotionally rather than intellectually. That is why most people sob through the whole of The Notebook regardless of where they are in their life.
When you laugh at the shenanigans carried out by characters in a comedy, you are simultaneously improving your immune system. This is because when you laugh, your blood vessels become dilated which helps keep your immune system health and boosts your hormones. Essentially, when you laugh at a funny scene, you are also lowering your blood pressure.
Romantic movies also help viewers deal with stress and outside issues, even issues you are not completely aware of. Similarly to comedies, they also help you achieve lower blood pressure.
If you ever wonder why you feel better after a feel good film, it is because you spent two hours lowering your stress levels and blood pressure and doing something for yourself without having to do anything at all.
Find a New Challenge
In some cases, boredom means that you are not being challenged. Whether you’re at a standstill at work or you aren’t challenging yourself personally, you can cure your boredom by picking up a new challenge.
Finding a new challenge does not mean that you should go out and deliberately making things harder for yourself. That is counterproductive and you will inevitably wind up back in the same place that you started.
Instead, you need to rethink everything you believe about the things you can or cannot do. You might think that you are unable to lead a large team or take control on a project, but you might wrong. It might be that you are afraid to do this and as a result, you have told yourself that you cannot do this. To find a new challenge, you need to begin believing that you can do things that you have otherwise told yourself you can’t.
Finding a new challenge is sometimes about getting out of your own head. If you spend every day looking at the price of flying to Australia and after two years, you haven’t made the plunge, you need to think about what is stopping you. You need to identify any roadblocks and whether or not they are just speed bumps.
Whatever your new challenge is, you need to commit to it and take the first step immediately. As soon as you find a new challenge, the concept of boredom becomes irrelevant.
Learn Something New
Sometimes boredom comes because you have stopped actively learning new skills. It seems impossible for a human to stop learning because learning begins as soon as you are born. But sometimes you reach a point in your life where learning stagnates in some form or another. Whether you lose interest in what you’re doing or you haven’t found the right resource to keep going, this stall in education can leave anyone feeling bored.
Many people stop learning and become bored because they believe that learning is something that one does at school or at college. They are right. Learning from teachers and books in a school environment is a formal kind of education. But, education started when you began to learn how to feed yourself and it should never stop. Learning and self-improvement not only separate humans from the rest but it also provides meaning in our lives.
Learning does not just happen in school, but if that is where you learn best, then going back into formal education is easier than ever. If there is a subject that you always wanted to learn or always wanted to improve in, then you can enroll in what is called a MOOC. A MOOC is massive online education course delivered by a university or college. These courses are delivered by real educators and often with real course material. Many of them are free and all you need is an email address to take part in them.
From accounting to data management to coding, you can learn anything on the Internet. You can also learn new languages or even specialist subjects in nutrition or history. If you have ever wanted to take a class but couldn’t find them time or money to do so, this is a great way to learn at your own pace without any scheduling or financial pressure.
Everyone feels bored at some point in their lives but not everyone takes the time to figure out why. Boredom may seem like it’s hard to beat but if you work to find the underlying cause of your boredom than you can leave it behind for good.
Busting boredom is all about figuring out where you are, how you got there and how you want to leave. Sometimes it involves beating down barriers to make it out of your rut and other times it takes real thought about what your true limitations are.
As long as you stay active, engaged and realistic and beat your boredom in a positive way, you can not only improve your life now but in the future as well.