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The Happee Times

Invest In Your Happiness


August 2023

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The Lost Art of Boredom

It is difficult to get bored these days. Ironic, isn’t it?

With the number of entertainment sources increasing in this age, we’re constantly stimulated. We’re scrolling through our phones, with the tv playing in the background, we’re getting our work done with music playing through the speakers, we’re on our phones for work and for entertainment. Our lifestyles don’t hold any space for us to feel “truly” bored.

Note: The internet defines boredom as “the state of feeling bored or disinterested in what you’re doing”. But “bored” can be understood in various ways. Every time I use this term in this article, I mean sitting idle, not being involved in any productive activity and letting your mind rest as well as wander.

The productivity culture that we’re living in, influences us to always keep our work mode on. Yes, of course one can have hobbies but even the hobbies need to be productive. They should be adding value to us, right? Personally, I don’t agree.

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The productivity culture that we’re living in, influences us to always keep our work mode on. Yes, of course one can have hobbies but even the hobbies need to be productive. They should be adding value to us, right? Personally, I don’t agree.


A saying by singer & songwriter, Justin Bieber, really stuck with me. He expressed how we should remember that we are human beings, not human doings. Sometimes, we need to find comfort in the state of just “being”. We do not have to always be doing something, jumping from one task to the other.

When we hop from one task to the other, we start living our lives on autopilot. The lack of newness and repetitiveness makes life monotonous. We get so used to being stimulated all the time that its lack leads to discomfort. We may start to feel disconnected from ourselves, others as well as our surroundings and find it difficult to be mindful. These conclude as the consequences of boredom.

I think it is high time to point out that boredom can be productive too.

What are the benefits of boredom?

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Boredom brews creativity: I’m sure you’ve heard about “shower thoughts''. Why do we always get the best ideas or the most bizarre thoughts while showering? It is because you’re doing something that you’re used to doing. The consequential boredom might be calling for your subconscious to wander.

Boredom can solve your problems: Inspiration, clarification, evaluation, distillation, incubation and perspiration are the 6 stages we all go through, during our creative pursuits, according to Geoffrey Petty’s ICEDIP model of creativity. We initially get inspired, then move onto clarifying the problem we want to solve, evaluate the options available, filter the better options, leave the problem aside for a while until we experience eureka and then finally apply our solution. According to Petty, the 5th stage, incubation, is extremely important. This is the stage where you leave your “problem to be solved” away, for a while. During this time, you engage yourself into other tasks or just let yourself be. This is the stage where you experience your “AHA moments”.

Boredom = mindfulness: the way to boredom is to not let yourself get engaged in any activity for a while. Once you do feel bored, think about what interests you and don’t let it be your digital devices. When you pick up activities like writing, moving, painting, walking, etc., to fill this time, you are guaranteed to feel more mindful while doing them.

The O in the term “bored” stands for observation: Lesser the stimulation, the more observant you become. We all might have witnessed how our grandparents are more observant than us. They might be able to point out changes in the weather through the smell of the wind or the color of the sky. That is because the lost art of boredom was much more prevalent in their times and so was the art of observation.

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Get bored and gain self-awareness: Falling in line with becoming observant, sitting still leads to introspection, introspection leads to self-awareness. When you won’t let your mind be stimulated, you will automatically become increasingly aware of your emotions, your feelings, your bodily sensations, etc.

Productivity as the result of boredom: but then again, we as a generation want to be productive. What if I tell you a period of boredom can actually lead to increased productivity? A short period of boredom or stillness gives your mind and body the space to wind down. It also helps us recharge, get inspired and eventually engage in more goal-directed activities.

Regardless of being aware of the benefits of taking time to sit idle, the question deems…

“Why do we seem to go back to our old ways?”

When we have some free time on our hands, why do we repeatedly try to fill it with our screens? Why can’t we let ourselves be okay with staying still? Why do we constantly feel the need to be stimulated?

The answer lies in our nervous systems. Simply said, our nervous systems have gotten used to feeling stimulated all the time. With less stimulation comes discomfort. Do this with me, whatever activity you’re engaged in right now, leave it aside. Set a timer for 10 minutes and just sit, without doing anything.

Side note: Don’t let yourself get tempted to reach out for your mobile phone.

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Did you experience any discomfort? I can already see you nodding. The answer for most of us might be a huge “YES”. If you were indeed able to sit comfortably without using any kind of stimulation, trust me “YOU WIN”.


The lack of stimulation leads to feelings of discomfort but we can slowly train our nervous system to find comfort in stillness. We don’t have to always be in action mode for us to feel calm.

On a philosophical note, along with coping with our daily life struggles and learning how to survive in this world, don’t forget to let yourself get bored enough to wonder how, in this moment, you’re living on a floating rock called the earth. Yes, life gets overwhelming but at the end of the day, we are here to experience it and not win it.

“How to get bored?” : A tutorial

Useful tips to practice this artform

Start with a digital detox: by setting time apart from your digital devices and engaging in an activity you like. It could be people watching, reading, sipping on a cup of tea, journaling, coloring or solving a puzzle. The idea is for you to reduce the level of stimulation around you.

Once you get comfortable doing this, start to sit completely idle for at least 10 minutes every day. This could be any time, in the morning, at night or when you’re taking a break from work. whatever works for you!

Let yourself get bored, sit idle, focus on the present moment and just be.

The key to this process is to not go on your phone because then you’re entertained. Better, find other ways of feeding your boredom.

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While we understand this, it is also important to note that what we’re trying to convey here is to give yourself the time to feel bored. This trains our nervous system to feel at ease even with minimal or no stimulation and eventually reaps the benefits of boredom.

But sometimes, using our phones, as bad as it is portrayed, helps us regulate our nervous systems during feelings of anxiousness and it is important to note that is okay as long as you are aware of the purpose it is serving. If you as an individual, tend to go down a negative spiral, sitting idle can prove to be detrimental sometimes. This may be due to the space created for your negative thoughts to surface. So, it is okay to scroll if it helps you cope. But along with it, it is also equally important to not, work on a healthier coping mechanism and talk about your recurring negative thoughts.

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Now that the lesson is over, I have a fun task for you, dear readers. Here’s the breakdown!

Aim of the task: Set a goal of taking out a couple of minutes for yourself every day and let yourself get bored.

Step 1: Decide when you’ll place this break for yourself each day. It could be in the morning, in between work, before falling asleep or any other time that suits you.

Step 2: Sit down and set a timer. You could start with 10 minutes and then gradually progress to increase it.

Step 3: The most important step. Do not get tempted to scroll through your devices or engage in some work. Give yourself space to truly get bored.

Step 4: If you feel tempted to do something, take deep breaths and focus on your breath pattern. Place one hand on your chest the other on your stomach and stay with your body.

Finally, get ready to reap the long-term benefits of boredom.

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