BoREDOM

DEFINITION

Boredom

The feeling of being bored by something tedious

Boring (So lacking in interest as to cause mental weariness)

It may be wonderful to be alive, but we all feel bored from time to time when our life lacks excitement, don’t we? But why do we get this feeling, which originates in the brain, and spreads throughout our whole being? Our brains need stimulation, whether it is talking about something we are interested in, playing a game we enjoy, reading, or working in an exciting job – but life’s not always like that. Sometimes there are lulls, where we are not receiving the stimulation we require; but why do we seek to fill these gaps constantly? Can we not sit still for a moment?

Since the day we were born, we have had parents and family stimulating our senses, always making sure we were occupied; we were never left on our own to just sit and be with ourselves. Like most things in life, learning to enjoy your own company without anything to do is a difficult process, especially when you are learning something in adulthood. You see, the brain has become used to being occupied all the time, that when it isn’t, it signals to you that it has nothing to do. So please turn on the tv, pick up a book, or go and do some exercise, just don’t leave me in this neutral state!

At school I liked languages and running, but I hated physics, chemistry and mathematics. They were so boring! Why? Because I couldn’t understand them; they were difficult for me to learn; and so my brain switched off and told me: “This is boring, I wish we could do something else.” Now, in my late thirties (am I really that old?), I have developed a real interest in science; and although I still find it impossibly difficult, I am sticking with it. No, boredom is not about lack of interest, it is the fear of being alone with your own feelings. If you were happy in your own mind, you wouldn’t get bored. I agree that some tasks are tedious, but the mind is such a wonderful place to escape to! You can have a holiday in the sun, and it costs you nothing, such is the power of the imagination; but we are always running to do something with our bodies. It’s go, go, go, every minute of the day, right up until bedtime.

Whether we’re studying, working, playing, travelling, fixing, or building, our hands and our minds are occupied from the moment we wake up. It’s no wonder the brain feels bored when there’s nothing to do. But learning to sit with yourself is no easy task. The first time I just sat with my own thoughts, I felt agitated; I couldn’t sit still. My body was restless, and so was my mind. I still find it difficult sometimes, especially if I’ve had a busy day and am trying to unwind. Learning to sit with yourself is something I wish my parents had taught me as a child, when I was most receptive, and it’s something I encourage all parents to teach their children to do. So let’s have a go now shall we? It doesn’t have to be on the floor in the “lotus” position, just anywhere that’s comfortable. I want you to sit with your legs and arms uncrossed, your palms open, preferably facing upwards, and pay attention to your breathing. Just start taking deeper breaths than normal, through your nose, slowly and deeply. That’s it!

Now just start to notice that your shoulders are becoming relaxed and that the good feeling is working its way down your whole body, slowly down your arms to your fingertips, down through the tops of your legs, and out through your toes, and keep breathing gently but deeply…

Notice that your head is feeling heavy and relaxed. Now imagine a scene where you felt very relaxed, it could be by a beach or it could be the smell of fresh flowers, or even the smell of the warm summer breeze on your face – whatever makes you relaxed. When you have that picture of relaxation in your mind, I want you to move it gently through your body, down from your mind, through your neck, slowly, and down your back and your arms, down your legs and down to your feet. By now you should have a nice warm feeling throughout your body. Your arms feel heavy; your legs feel heavy, but deeply relaxed. Sit for a moment and then gently come back to the room…

There, how do you feel? No different? Don’t worry, it’s not easy. It’s doubtful you’ll be able to empty your mind immediately, after all, it’s used to being kept occupied at all times, but it’s a start. What you should have experienced there, was just feeling more relaxed than usual, and relaxation is the key to removing boredom. Not the relaxing like watching tv or going to the pub for a drink; this is relaxation without any external stimulation. You don’t need to pay anyone for this service, it comes completely free, compliments of your amazing body!

Most of us don’t know what real relaxation is. We see it as a change from our usual routine. Going away for the weekend, going to the theatre, doing something adventurous, but that isn’t relaxing; that’s just occupying your mind with new stimulation, to relieve the tediousness of regular life. Real relaxation is nothing. Absolutely nothing going on. I hear some of you now crying out, “But that sounds boring! I don’t just want to close my eyes and sit to relax, I want to do something fun with my relaxation period.” I’m sure most of you feel like this. Why do something where the end result is nothing? At least relaxing by going to the pub is fun, at least I am getting fit by playing tennis during my relaxing period; but these are activities, relaxing is not an activity, it’s a state of mind, which then influences your physical state. We are so busy these days, that we just don’t have time to give our poor overworked brains and bodies a rest; and believe me, they need a rest. You wouldn’t drive a horse this hard, you’d be accused of cruelty!

But you’re quite happy to do it to your own body. It’s as if we don’t ever want our brains to get bored, just in case something bad happens to us; but the feeling of boredom that children get especially, is just pure mental agitation, and with relaxation, will pass. In fact, the child will be less demanding, and you won’t have to keep finding things for him to do. “Yes, but children have so much energy,” I hear you say; but even for children, the most energetic and inquisitive humans on the planet, learning to sit in quiet is highly important. After all, these will be the stressed parents of the future.

Do you want your child to be as stressed as you when he grows up? If a child learns this technique of relaxation, he will start to enjoy it as “an activity,” although it is nothing more than letting the brain and body unwind. All it takes is five to ten minutes a day, or longer if they feel happy.

Like all things, deep relaxation is a learned behaviour, and the quicker you teach your child this, the better it will be for you and for him, especially when he grows up. Imagine not having to think of the next thing to occupy your child with, in case they start screaming they want to watch a dvd, play outside, or play at the park.

Let’s face it, children don’t really know what they want! They want to do a million things, and be in a million places at once, and if you don’t teach them this quiet sitting, you will find yourself going crazy trying to keep up with them. I recommend everyone who reads this book try sitting with their own thoughts, in silence, for five minutes a day. You don’t need any special equipment or clothing, you don’t need to buy a membership, and it may give you a little insight into a wonderful person – you!

If only everyone who feels angry and agitated would try this. It is so simple, yet people seem to think that it is boring just sitting with yourself. Try to ask yourselves why your mind would tell you it was boring to give it a quick rest, to recharge its batteries. Is it hiding something it is afraid you will find out if you, and it, are left alone in the same room without anything to do?

Maybe you will have to find out!

Sit a while, and watch your thoughts

Breathe deeply and evenly Imagine a scene of total tranquillity

Let that image float over your body and relax…

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