Of all the things to be afraid of in this world, apparently boredom is a biggie. Seems that “bored to death” is really a thing.
Science now suggests that boredom creates cortisol, the deadly stress hormone that’s arguably the cause of all our physical ills. And people who report being bored with their lives die earlier. Isn’t that WILD?
But how do we avoid boredom? It’s everywhere, it seems.
Ironically, in a world with 19,048,897 things to entertain us, it seems like we’re more bored than ever before.
Albert Nerenberg, director of the documentary, Boredom, talked to NPR recently about the “B” word. His flick deals in large part with our sedentary culture and its reliance on technology. Basically, he says, sedentary behavior leads to boredom (in addition to a whole host of physical ills).
Technology fools us into thinking something interesting is happening, but really, it’s not. We’re just sitting on our asses staring at a glow screen. Nerenberg talks about how it starts in childhood, in schools. (Most) kids spend more time sitting at a desk than anything else. From childhood to adulthood we sit, then sit some more, then sit again. We sit at a desk, we sit in our cars, we sit on a couch.
Nerenberg says one way to combat boredom is to keep it moving. Sitting is bad. Moving is good.
“You shouldn’t do anything for longer than 90 minutes … after 90 minutes you actually are usually far less effective, you’re generally not enjoying yourself and you’re not really actually getting the job done,” he told NPR.
Moving around, exploring the world, using our hands, being outside, immersing ourselves in nature, interacting (face to face) with others, solving problems, building things, being CURIOUS about everything … these are the best ways to avoid boredom, IMO. It’s all about opening our eyes to the miracles around us. Everything is interesting, if we look closely enough.
In a world as gorgeous and fascinating and infinitely complex as ours, boredom shouldn’t be an option.
So if you’re carrying the boredom burden, putting down the smartphone/tablet/laptop and stepping outside might be a good first step. Think of it as cortisol detox. 😉
Besides,being bored to death is a pretty crappy way to go.
To learn more, listen to this fascinating hour on Boredom via NPR.