Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

7 Reasons Why Boredom Can Be Beautiful!

Hammock - Relax

“All of man’s difficulties are caused by his inability to sit, quietly, in a room by himself.” – Pascal

Many people run – or even panic – at the first sign of boredom.  Boredom can also be the wall you hit when you try to learn mindfulness or mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques. Given our usual aversion to boredom, it might be surprising to know it can be one of your most important pivotal points in meditation and in life.

Boredom can be beautiful.  Here’s why.

  1. When the activity of your mind calms down, you’re able to see more clearly the way your own mind works and how it gets you into so much trouble.
  2. The ability to be present in the moment, which might give rise to boredom at times, can relief stress, nourish your nervous system, and revitalize your body.
  3. Boredom can be a sign that you’re investing in your inner life, the only true source of positive change.
  4. Boredom can be a signal that you’re avoiding your deepest emotions and that’s where the pay dirt lies.
  5. It can be an indication that you’re addicted to whatever is trying to pull you away.
  6. Boredom may show you you’re not your transitory thoughts and emotions, but a more enduring awareness that’s with you all the time.
  7. You might be mistaking boredom for the spacious and peaceful quality of your mind, which will ultimately bring you fantastic relief and true freedom.

So what keeps us from dipping our toes into the possibility of a more free and open state of mind?

Are You Terrorized by Boredom?

Most of us feel terrorized by boredom because modern culture encourages – almost demands – constant stimulation.  You must stay busy all the time!  Conditioned to respond to every beep of the Smart phone, addicted to endless social media excursions, and/or pinned to the tried and true TV, what a jumble of reactivity we’ve become.

No wonder the first sign of boredom scares the socks off of you!

But what are we sacrificing to this cruel ruler?  Our health, our self-esteem, our happiness and sense of peace.  And, the more we reinforce the habit of busyness, the stronger it becomes.

Dare to Be Bored

Please don’t run at the first sign of boredom.  Try this instead.  Just be at peace with it.  After all, if you never allow space to occur in your life, how will you ever get to know your own mind and what brings you genuine happiness?

Boredom is just another transitory thought or emotion that occurs in the mind.  You don’t have to jump up or get busy just because it appears.  It will pass like a cloud in the sky unless you feed it with new thoughts about how terrible it is.  Or, you could pause and ask what’s it telling you about your mind, your emotions, and your life?

Cultivate your capacity to enjoy being.  Dare to be bored – at least some of the time!

And if you need help learning to be still, please read:  21 Meditation Tips You Need to Know As a Beginner.

What happens when you feel bored?  Do you get busy or allow for space in your life?

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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24 Comments

  1. Jean Sampson

    I will gladly exchange all of this January busyness for some February boredom! 🙂
    I so long to be in my Winter cave, and life usually will NOT let me! So a little boredom might be a beautiful thing—-maybe. Of course, because I am a poet, I always turn what could become boredom into an opportunity to write so………I am not even sure I know HOW to be bored. And I am always reading something, so that is not officially boredom, either. Hummmm……… I wonder if I could handle real genuine boredom, the kind you felt as a child when you would go to Mom and declare, “There is NOTHING to do!” That meant that you would be completely underfoot and whiny, and SHE couldn’t take that, so something was found for you to do PDQ!
    Interesting post, Sandra.

    • Dear Jean,

      I can imagine! It sounds like January is super crazy for you. Naturally, you enjoy writing and reading and I’m sure they are very nourishing activities. Yes, it’s interesting to just sit still even when bored jumps up. We don’t want to get whiny though! Not that you ever would.

  2. Sandra, thanks for this. I have become such a doer, it’s good to be reminded of the positive effects of idleness and boredom. So glad to let that in.

    In appreciation,

    Sue

    • You are so very welcome, Sue! I’ve been a big doer all my life too. But I’m enjoying more downtime now and it’s lovely. Nice to hear you are letting this in. And, thanks for your appreciation.

  3. Hi Sandra, I really enjoyed this post.

    I especially liked this: “you could pause and ask what’s it telling you about your mind, your emotions, and your life?” It shifts the idea of boredom from an irritating experience to boredom as an invitation to go deeper.

    Sometimes I respond to boredom in a very habitual way by grabbing for something, anything, that might stimulate me and keep me occupied. There are other times when I do allow myself to just experience that boredom and sit with it for a while. Often when I do this that irritating sense that often accompanies boredom can slip away and underneath I might feel a simple contentment, or curiosity, or even just a neutral feeling, which I suppose is just boredom without that sense of wanting to change things.

    • Hi Dave,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I love how you summed it up as boredom being an invitation to move from being an irritating experience to an invitation to go deeper.

      You sound fairly comfortable with boredom! Bravo, that’s not easy to do in our busy, busy culture. Thanks for sharing what you’ve discovered when you’ve just sat with the boredom.

  4. Awesome! Explore our boredom, I’m all for that. And I agree that it reflects something of our addictive dependency on the mental and emotional rewards of being busy in a society that provides all the rewards–more money, more respect. Boredom is something we need to wake up to and be less dismissive of. Great post!

    • Audrey, This feels exactly like something you might embrace! Delighted you enjoyed the post and feel excited about a little boredom.

  5. Lol, I don’t think I know how to be bored, at least not while I’m by myself. There is always something interesting to do! But that includes peaceful activities like meditating, so it doesn’t always have to be busy work. Part of my “Focus” for the year includes eliminating things that I don’t really like doing, or don’t contribute to my higher goals, so I find that I’m even less bored now as a result. Yaay! 🙂

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I love how you find life so interesting. I think peaceful activities like meditating give us a chance to taste positive boredom! I love your focus for the year and I’m fully with you on eliminating all that doesn’t contribute to our higher goals. Yes!

  6. Hi Sandra,

    You are right, life is so busy that we get no time to feel bored! Lovely thoughts.
    However, I think blessed are those persons who never feel bored as they have been given so much to do, to accomplish and enjoy. Most of the times it is very much in our hands to pause and get time for boredom; I have done so many times but human beings are constructed in such a manner that if they have a lot to do, they find a weird contentment in pursuing one goal after the other!

    After having tried boredom, I have concluded that it is better to have a lot to do than find solace in boredom…no doubt it helps us introspect, take stock of our thoughts, of what more do we want from life. I would like to replace your word ‘Bored’ with ‘LEISURE’!

    • Dear Balroop,

      I understand entirely why you would like to replace “bored” with “leisure.” And I understand how much meaning you derive satisfaction from accomplishment.

      I used the word “bored” because that’s a state of mind that sometimes arises and is problematic when people try to sit still for more than a moment in mindfulness meditation. And, we often have an automatic reaction of getting busy if the feeling of boredom comes up in the mind just because we feel uncomfortable with a moment of space. I’m definitely not advocating a full time life of boredom. But something’s not quite right if we have to jump the moment boredom comes up in the mind. At least that’s my perspective! But I agree, leisure is a beautiful word!

  7. Dear Balroop,

    I understand entirely why you would like to replace “bored” with “leisure.” And I understand how much meaning you derive satisfaction from accomplishment.

    I used the word “bored” because that’s a state of mind that sometimes arises and is problematic when people try to sit still for more than a moment in mindfulness meditation. And, we often have an automatic reaction of getting busy if the feeling of boredom comes up in the mind just because we feel uncomfortable with a moment of space. I’m definitely not advocating a full time life of boredom. But something’s not quite right if we have to jump the moment boredom comes up in the mind. At least that’s my perspective! But I agree, leisure is a beautiful word!

  8. Hi Sandra, I’ve always been fond of that Pascal quote and it taught me early on to genuinely allow myself the time to ‘sit and stare’ so to speak. It’s in that space of gently looking out on the blue sky (usually) and trees dancing in the wind that all sorts of new ideas pop into my head. There’s a big blessing to be had just sitting and being. Lovely reminder.

  9. Love these images of gently looking out on the blue sky and trees dancing in the wind, Elle. How nice that you find these moments of space such a blessing!

  10. What interesting thoughts on boredom that I had never considered before. Thanks for getting my wheels turning and the great blogpost!

    • You’re so welcome, Kaylin! You know I like to be a bit provocative. 🙂 But, it’s actually something I observe when I teach meditation. It can be a challenge when boredom comes up!

  11. I don’t really get bored. I’m a reader and a very visual person…easily entertained, I suppose, with the things around me. When there’s not much going on to watch, my mind starts working on things I’d like to do, or dreams…I’m a champion daydreamer. Ideas for my artwork are often born while I’m exercising, showering or falling asleep.

    • Hi Joyce,

      That’s nice! You seem to have a very active, rich, and creative life, which you enjoy deeply. May it continue to serve you well and thanks for sharing your take on boredom.

  12. Thanks so much for sharing this. It brings to mind some things I need to work on. I am a go getter and most of the time I look at that as a good thing. When I look at it like you pointed out I see there is some old programing I have going on. Like if you aren’t “doing” you are not of value. Thanks for this. I will be bringing that into my next healing session.

    • Hi Melissa,

      I’m inspired by your openness and receptivity! I agree there can be a very healthy energy to being a go getter. And, it’s always good to look at the old programming too. This is such an important point: how many of us feel if we’re not doing we’re not of value. Thanks for highlighting it.

  13. I can’t say I ever get bored but I do agree that it’s really important to find time to just ‘be’. It’s good to slow down 🙂

    • Carolyn,

      I find it fascinating that you never get bored! I’m happy that you have the capacity to just ‘be’ too. That’s a great balance.

  14. Sandra, I love this article. Im linking it to a post I am writing. Boredom is something I often stumble upon in my mindfulness practice. I love to think of it as spaciousness, however, I often rush to fill my boredom with something else too. Thanks for the lovely insight <3

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