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The Benefits of Boredom

Put the phone down (after you read this). Turn off the TV. Stop engaging in things you do when you're not doing anything else. Let's add boredom to your to do list.

It's okay to be bored every once in a while. In fact, it's good for you. And although it may be uncomfortable, it's important to give your brain a little breather.

However, this isn't a step-by-step on how to be bored. That's for you to figure out. Boredom means something different for everyone. One person may become bored from sitting on the couch, while another may get bored while playing basketball. But in each situation, boredom took place -- and this is where the brain can do a lot of good thinking.

You have to find a few things that make you bored, or that don't take a lot of brain power, and engage in those activities on a regular basis.

For many people though, boredom can be painful. It takes them to a place they never wanted to go. They start thinking about tough tasks they need to complete or the painful experiences they've had. But avoiding these thoughts will only postpone a difficult thought process for a later date.

It's best to work through hard thoughts and accept them as they come, rather than bottling them up. A highly pressurized bottle can only hold its contents for so long.

It gets a lot easier to deal with the tough stuff when your first instinct is to think through it right away.

Your brain flourishes most when it is tested, not when it is distracted. Problem solving and creative thinking aren't traits you are born with. They are learned skills that must be cultivated. It'll be uncomfortable at first, but you'll start to improve.

I've solved some of my greatest problems when I wasn't really doing anything at all (while lying in bed, standing in the shower or walking to work). I gave my brain the time and space to think, without the clutter. I wasn't scrolling through Twitter or checking email. It was just me and my thoughts.

Remember, boredom is different for everyone. It isn't about what you're doing but how your mind deals with it. Find your own personal boredom level -- where you can think clearly -- without the unnecessary distractions.

What do you think? Is boredom necessary? Or should we keep our brains occupied throughout the day?


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