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Did you know that July is National Anti-Boredom Month? Neither did I! There’s a whole month dedicated to fighting boredom. We’ve all been in that state of wanting to do something and yet nothing appealing catches our interest. That’s boredom.
July was selected by Anti-Boredom Month founder Alan Caruba, a journalist, because school is out and after the 4th of July there isn’t another fun holiday to celebrate until fall. This month is also hot, inspiring us to stay indoors and become less active.
Boredom, like comparison and anxiety, is a thief of joy and can have a negative impact on moods, motivation and satisfaction with life. Check out these 8 ways to combat boredom, using this month to make shifts in your life.
Typically, boredom is caused by monotonous repetition or tedious tasks. Or when we settle too deeply into routine we can become stuck in boredom due to lack of mental stimulation.
Scientifically, one known cause of boredom is low levels of dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that fires up whenever we experience something new and/or exciting. Doing tedious tasks or following a predictable, repetitious routine allows dopamine levels to fall. When our brains are no longer stimulated, we feel bored. That is our cue to make changes.
Other causes of boredom include low energy due to lack of sleep or mental exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed with tasks, feeling stuck in a monotonous situation, procrastination, lack of motivation or an unexpected life change that throws us off balance.
8 Ways to Combat Boredom
Combating boredom is a way of going beyond, of living life beyond the edges. Like staying in a comfort zone, sometimes we put up with boredom rather than shifting and making the effort to create change.
Try one…or all…of these ways to inject joy and excitement back into your life, if you feel bored.
Start with Reflection
If boredom is stealing your joy, take some quiet time away from distractions to uncover the root cause of it. Does life feel too routine? Are you overwhelmed in any area? Do you know your life purpose?
Grab a notebook or journal and spend time writing out your thoughts, feelings and concerns. Refer back to the causes of boredom above. Do you see the underlying cause?
Make shifts that stimulate the brain and create excitement and anticipation. Listen to lively music while doing chores, watch a fun series on television while folding laundry, change up everyday routines and make sure you get enough sleep at night.
Meditation is another crucial way to go deeper within to see what’s really going on. Learn more about how to meditate and the benefits HERE.
Eliminate the “I Shoulds”
Sometimes it’s not boredom you struggle with but the feeling of guilt over not doing something that you feel you “should” do. It’s beautiful to spend time practicing the art of doing nothing. Often the mind and body need that quiet downtime. It isn’t laziness to sit by a steam and listen to the water or to lie in a hammock on a warm morning, daydreaming. There’s value in intentional inactivity.
Boredom kicks in when you think “I should be doing something beside sitting here…but I don’t know what to do.” Learn to be okay with doing nothing when that’s what your body and mind most require.
Know Your Purpose in Life
If life feels mundane and boring, perhaps it’s because you aren’t living your purpose. Knowing why you are here on earth and what you most want to do guides you in making decisions, living with passion and pursuing your dreams.
Your purpose is uniquely yours. What it’s not is carrying out the expectations of others. Purpose gets you out of bed in the morning, excited for the day.
At some point, I’ll write a detailed post on discovering purpose. To get started, try creating a personal manifesto that states your beliefs, your desires and what is uniquely true about you. Use my Wild Woman Manifesto as a template.
Don’t rush this process. It involves having a growth mindset and exploring what you love to do. Journaling is another excellent tool for uncovering purpose.
Following curiosity is a fun way discover more about what you feel drawn to. Recently, while studying the health habits of people with the highest longevity, following my curiosity led me to adopt to a Blue Zones Lifestyle!
Connect with High Energy People
If you find yourself yawning through another conversation with the group of people you always hang out with, it’s time to find some new people to connect with. It doesn’t mean you have to ditch old friends. It means you look for new friends who live with high energy, great passion and a strong sense of purpose to hang out with too.
Connecting with new people might also lead to different hobbies, fresh experiences or incredible shared ideas. Look for like minded people, clubs that discuss topics you are curious about or participate in adventures with other daring souls.
Overwhelm happens when you take on too much, let tedious tasks pile up or avoid essential activities for too long. The procrastination and avoidance paralyze forward action and then you feel stuck. Boredom sets in.
To eliminate overwhelm and the accompanying boredom, get to those things that need doing, but make it fun, make it interesting.
Create a list and check off each item. Do the most challenging tasks first thing in the morning and get them out of the way. Then do the next most challenging and so on. As you cross those items off the list, you build momentum and feel a sense of accomplishment and relief.
Make a game out of completing boring tasks by setting a timer and racing the clock. Reward yourself with a fun experience (not food) and give yourself something to look forward to.
Enjoy New Experiences
Always a favorite of mine, learning new things, going to new places and enjoying new experiences releases that dopamine in the brain. You feel excited, joyful, accomplished and more creative, “doing the new”, as my friend Lu Ann says.
You don’t have to travel around the world to find someplace new. Visit a town nearby that you’ve never been to before. Go to a restaurant in your city and try different cuisine. Listen to a music genre you haven’t tried before or watch a movie in a different category.
Once you get used to frequently enjoying new experiences you will discover that the new experiences find you. It becomes a way of life.
For example, information about the Sculpture Walk in Springfield popped up in my Facebook news feed. I’d never heard of it, however it immediately grabbed my interest. What a fun, new experience it turned out to be, in a city an hour from Joplin. I even got to experience a new restaurant the same day.
Change Up Routines
Following the same routine day after day creates a mental rut, which eventually turns into boredom. It’s way too easy to fall into habits that become harder to break as time passes.
To bring excitement back, change up those routines. Change is usually the key to combatting boredom.
If you always do something a certain way, do it differently. Get up at a little earlier or later, walk in the evening instead of the morning, drive to work a different way, move the furniture around, start a new hobby. Take a cooking class, shift your mindset, get outside more, dress differently, paint your bedroom a fresh color.
Don’t move through life mindlessly. Wake up your brain and your senses and chase boredom away by changing up those routines. You’ll gain new perspectives as well.
Create a Boredom Busting List
Keep a running list of new things you’d like to try…or experiences you enjoy that you never tire of. When boredom sneaks in, grab the list and pick an activity to stir things up. Don’t make the list too easy. Challenge yourself to go on more adventures, try new experiences, think differently and move beyond comfort zones.
Make a game out of picking an activity off your list. One of my favorite games to play is the random one. Write your fun ideas on slips of paper, fold them and drop the papers into a container. If you feel bored, randomly select a folded paper from the container and do whatever is written there.
You will not only combat boredom, you’ll grow, expand your perspectives and deepen your trust.
Do You Struggle with Boredom?
Is boredom something you struggle with…occasionally or frequently? I hope these 8 ways to combat boredom give you ideas for ways to go beyond and live a life that brings you great joy.
If you have other ways of busting boredom, share them in the comments below.
Amazon finds to help keep boredom away:
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