When my kids say they are bored, I tell them that it is good to be bored. They look at me with wonder.
Yes, it’s true being bored is actually an opportunity, rather than a condition. When we apply mindfulness to being bored we look at boredom in a whole new way.
Take something that feels negative and turn it into a positive. Yes, please!
First, let’s talk about why kids are so unfamiliar or uncomfortable with this feeling of boredom. Most kids are growing up in a culture of instant gratification. We are too. We see it and the next day, Amazon has delivered it to our doorstep. Who doesn’t love that?
Technology, technology, where do I even start here. We are all guilty, right? You know it. Pull the phone out the instant we have a “lull” of inactivity. Maybe it’s at the airport, a restaurant, or while waiting for an appointment. Kids are learning this same behavior. Instead of just enjoying the space of not having to do “something” like talk or think, we fill it.
Extracurricular activities, take up a lot of time. Lots of time. Especially when you have multiple kids in different activities. Kids are filling up their evenings either participating in activities or if they are young, being hauled to their sibling’s activities. And, most of all parents you are filing up all of your time. Not much time for anyone to be bored.
When we apply our mindfulness to boredom, we can begin to make a shift in our behavior. Maybe we can influence our kids as we model boredom, in a positive light?
Start to think about being bored as a choice. Once aware it’s a choice, we can decide if we want to be bored or not. We can make a choice to use this as an opportunity to use creativity to find something new to explore. Maybe it’s just looking out the window at nature while waiting for your name to be called at the doctor’s office. Maybe it is just looking around the restaurant while waiting for your friend to return. Or maybe just being more aware of our surroundings wherever that might be.
If we are always scheduled, let’s be honest, most of us over-scheduled, we will never be bored. If we aren’t ever bored, then we miss out on the opportunity to be creative. Being creative means, looking for something new to explore. Something interesting to do, like read a new book. Maybe go for a picnic in the park or beach.
So I decided to try not checking my phone when alone in a restaurant. Or while waiting for a flight or an appointment. I started to notice more space in my mind. I found this renewed passion for nature. I find my ability to write with greater ease and clarity. This does come with a warning though, once you become more mindful of your boredom you may also become more sensitive to how much everyone else is still distracted!
Take a moment to pause next time you feel bored. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Notice how you feel in your body. Imagine something you used to do that you no longer make time to do now. What did that feel like? Sound like? Look like? Smell like? What new things would you explore now that you have not had time to before?
Open yourself up to some boredom. Allow your curiosity to turn on. Begin exploring all the wonderful things that are waiting for you!