The Importance of Learning Boredom

Modern society though has almost obliterated the experience of boredom. Bored? Go on the internet. Bored? Play Candy Crush. Bored? Talk to your friends through social media. I thought this was a good thing, but according to the article I kicked my smartphone addiction by retraining my brain to enjoy being bored, the experience of getting bored is linked to higher levels of creativity. So if you never experience it, you might be lessening your chances of coming up with original ideas.

The article says: “Indeed, research suggests that people who want to come up with creative ideas would do well to let their minds drift. A 2014 study in theJournal of Experimental Social Psychology found that bored people “are more likely to engage in sensation seeking”—that is, to look for activities or sights that engage their minds and stimulate the brain’s reward centers. These people are more prone to “divergent thinking styles”—the ability to come up with creative new ideas. “Thus, boredom may encourage people to approach rewards and spark associative thought.”

“Coming up with a boring task (especially a reading task),” the authors conclude, “might help with coming up with a more creative outcome.” This may be because boredom can inspire “lateral thinking”—a form of engaging your mind to seek a more creative solution to the problem at hand because the obvious one is just not very interesting. So before you sit down to write, paint, or brainstorm a new project, it may be smart to spend some time washing the dishes or weeding the lawn—the better to set your brain roaming.”