Do you always have to kill time, fill the void, or say something?
I’m bored at times, but is that really a bad thing?
Is that boredom something that always has to be handled? According to Nina Yau from Castles In The Air, perhaps we should re-think our need to “kill time” if we’re feeling bored… from her blog:
Suffering comes in many forms, not all of them obvious. When we start to suffer from our own boredom, which is essentially the inability and impatience to sit with yourself with absolutely nothing to do whatsoever, we seek refuge and escape. Boredom, or validation, is an unnecessary byproduct of this false illusion we have created in our minds, that unless we do or say something, we aren’t anybody.
Our obsession with “doing something” all of the time, with diving into our default screens when we’re feeling like there is nothing to do, or that nothing is happening… I think we need to evolve past the “anxiety” this builds as a society, and I think we can do so, very easily.
This means changing your “default screen” habit, just as you would any other habit:
- Start small. Try to notice when you’re filling time with your default screen, or mindless shopping etc… Don’t change anything, just spend a few days noticing when you’re doing it.
- Make a small change. Once a day, just try to deep breath and relax during the time you feel the urge to pick up a device and start poking or sliding (by the way, mindfulness and meditation are excellent for your overall health).
- Transition to bigger changes once you see results. When you’re feeling bored, or looking for a distraction, replace that feeling with something else, like the meditation already mentioned or simply striking up a conversation (face to face, not online or on the phone) with someone.
- Keep going… until you begin to develop a new habit that replaces the urge to shove your head into your default screen (usually anywhere from 30 — 90 days before a new habit is created).
- Celebrate. Take yourself (or yourself and a loved one) out for dinner.
I no longer have the urge to head straight to my former default screen… and while that doesn’t mean I NEVER, ever grab my tablet (a new Nokia 2520) and surf the ‘net… it means I’m much more mindful of when I do.
We’re better than that. It takes work to evolve yourself in this way, but the rewards are numerous (better relationships, a liberating feeling, control of your technology, awareness, critical thinking etc…).