Many situations can bore you—long daily commutes, unstructured time, and seemingly endless meetings at work. Eating seems to break the monotony. You have to actively oppose using food in this way. You can even make resisting food what you focus on. Challenge yourself: “I will not snack in the car;” or “I will not bring soda to the conference room at work.” Here are a few other pointers to defeat boredom:
- Don’t passively accept that you must do the things that bore you: Lobby for shorter meetings at work, if longer ones seem pointless. Don’t feel you always have to hang out with family members during long evenings at home if you’d rather be getting something else done.
- If you have to participate in the activity, make it interesting: If you’re commuting an hour to work, buy books on CD.
- Exercise: When you’re bored, you have nothing to lose by just heading to the gym—even if you don’t make it a stellar workout. It’s “dead time,” anyhow, so if you get a little something out of it, that’s good enough.
- Start a journal: Maybe you haven’t given yourself the time to write down what you think and feel. Make a habit of it.
“Boredom isn’t the passive mental process most people imagine. It is not a vacuum, not the absence of all. Boredom is that active voice from inside that cries, ‘I am through with routine. I am ready to find my path. I am hungry to make my contribution.’ In the silence of boredom, be especially alert for the bright light of your true calling.” —Keith Ablow, MD