What is boredom exactly? Are we so over-stimulated that regular activities just don’t give us sufficient stimulation anymore? Those with depression often deal with boredom but boredom is not merely being depressed; many individuals experience this phenomena despite living regular happy lives. Is boredom a side-effect of this instant-gratification culture? Is it a symptom of the culture? More and more people are experiencing boredom everyday. Direct contact with the boring, the mundane, the inescapable. Direct confrontation with the droning and monotonous; an aspect of life that many of us know all too well. Sitting in your car at a long red light, on your boring drive home from work; sitting in bed on your computer while it’s raining, with nothing to do. I am in a state of boredom while I write this post, but I am forcing myself to complete it. Are we becoming desensitized to dopamine-releasing tasks, so that anything you choose is just not that exciting anymore? Can we defeat boredom through long-term goals and purpose? One thing that may help you when you experience boredom is to force yourself to do something different; you need to escape that situation that is boredom-inducing. Unfortunately, that which was once novel is so very quick to wear itself off. “Boredom always contains an awareness of being trapped, either in a particular situation or in the world as a whole.” What happens when you are bored of life itself? Boredom is a mostly indefinable state; it is a confrontation of both time and being at once. It may touch the edges of anhedonia; the inability to feel pleasure. Does everything wear itself out; even life itself? An activity may capture our attention in marvelous ways in the beginning, but these things always seem to die out all too quickly. “Bored with life”, may be an existential problem that should be looked at more closely. Our need-to-escape in pleasure-inducing virtual realities are an indication that most people are trying to capture that spark of something truly captivating. It is often so easily gained and then lost, then we move on to the next thing, and the next. Our we trying to escape our (not always so interesting) self?
Another alternative is to face it head on and ride it out. Feel bored, that is perfectly fine; be okay with it. Sit with it, watch it wax and wane; and finally, let it pass. Stare it down, and watch it retreat and back down, eventually. Just as those adept in meditation let their thoughts pass without identifying them, so also let boredom pass in the same matter. Even just taking a nap can help. Also, if you’ve been in one place for a long time, such as in bed or in a chair at your computer, simply stand up, change your position for a few minutes, and it may pass. Try drinking hot tea, it livens the spirit; check out yerba mate, it is a very earthy tea, and very good for you. Also try to place emphasis on exercise, instead of sex, drugs, and alcohol, as those are just quick-fixes. Change is the enemy and remedy of boredom, switch things up, do something you never expected you would do. These are time-and-place solutions for boredom, but being bored with life itself seems to be a different kind of animal. I cannot offer any solution that is easily accessible in that case, except ride that out and hope for sunshine when you are “staying home to watch the rain”; hold onto the hope that something new and invigorating will come your way; preferably something that touches your soul; a rare event in one’s (often monotonous) life.