07 February 2013

The Cure for Boredom is Simplicity

Once you begin the journey to a simpler lifestyle a lot of questions start arising. Like, how will I live without my stuff now that I'm downsizing? How will I prevent feeling bored when I deliberately choose simplicity? Don't worry because simplicity IS the cure for boredom, however unlikely that might sound to you right now.

What is boredom
In a life overpopulated by media of all kinds getting used to be entertained is the most common of vices. Being brought up by TV programs and growing up with a game console/mobile phone embedded in their hands, children have a hard time being simply by themselves or enjoying simple age-old games that don't need electricity.
growing up with video games
Photo: Amanda Tipton

I openly blame bad parenting for that. Letting your kids get carried away by the waves of apathy generated by television or video games is a sign of false love motivated by self-love.

Bored children grow up to become bored adults, unable to keep company to themselves, expecting the world around to provide for them - entertainment, fun, motivation, you name it. Unfortunately, such mindset makes people forever unhappy with what they have, forever dreaming of the next great thing they still don't have... forever envying the grass that's greener on the other side.

But boredom can also be a destructive force. A 2005 study of 92 Scottish teenagers found that boredom was among the top reasons stated for taking drugs.

In learning, boredom is connected to intelligence. People tend to get bored when something is either too incomprehensive or too easy for them. Or when they cannot focus.

In everyday life, boredom can appear when the same activity is repeated again and again and you are not motivated.

Boredom and simplicity
If you are inexperienced at simple living you might be slightly taken aback by the notion of minimizing your possessions, decluttering the space around you, reducing the time you spend connected.

Such a life might seem too intense at first, too empty, and boring. But that is if you are relying on the outside to give you purpose.

But don't despair, there are steps you can take to awaken your interest in the world and never feel bored, and these steps are part of the simplicity you are striving for.

How to cure boredom
Get out of your comfort zone
Challenge yourself to go about the same old routine with a new twist, add an activity that has been scary to you, do your chores in a different manner, which has been unthinkable before. Suddenly your mind will get focused on the exciting part, instead of the tedious one. Embrace new activities, hobbies and points of view. Think about them, discuss them, do them. Life is too short to be spent in boredom and apathy.

Last month I took a self-imposed challenge to get out of my comfort zone which set my creativity on fire and refreshed my mind. I am still continuing with it!

Focus on what is really important to you, define your goals. Make a decision based on your priorities. You can learn to focus by spending time alone in nature, or in quiet contemplation. Or you can start a creative project - it will set your mind at a different frequency and will help you concentrate.

Whenever I work on my photographs to turn them into surreal artworks I seem to transfer to a parallel world where anything is possible. While I am concentrated on the act of creating my thoughts roam freely and I often have problems solved by themselves at the end or my working process.

Stop distraction
Living in a complex, hyper-stimulating world, we have grown used to being distracted. In fact, without distraction we feel like life becomes stagnant. But distraction, as well as multi-tasking are a plague to your mind that only steal your focus. Learn to do one thing at a time and to be fully present.

I was a proud multi-tasker until the day I realized that was nothing to be proud with. I've been trying to completely stop multi-tasking in order to keep my sanity and to ensure that I am doing my best in every situation.

Start a journal to help streamline your thoughts and to increase your sense of purpose. You will be surprised by thoughts you will witness yourself write down.

I have been a writer ever since I learned to write and still have my teen  journals kept by my mother. Nowadays blogging has become my journaling and I appreciate the way it has helped my conscience grow.

Be quiet
Learn to sit quietly in a room with just yourself as company. Instead of feeling frustrated or bored, enjoy the silence, listen to your heart and your thoughts.

Sitting quietly is a favorite of mine. Or walking quietly. I remember many of my walks in the forest, through all seasons when I wished I didn't make a noise so I don't ruin the perfect moment of bird songs, gentle wind and the sound of the waves; or the drops falling from the melting snow.

Dorothy Parker says that "the cure for boredom is curiosity". I say that the cure for boredom is simplicity.

By simplifying your priorities you get a clear vision to the path you are walking. Simple methods, simple actions leave no space for boredom, on the contrary, they fill your everyday with mindful activities that motivate you and make you feel satisfied with your choices.

After embracing a simpler and more mindful lifestyle you will look back at your previous self and wonder how have you managed to live before and you will not remember what filled your days, I promise.

How do you deal with boredom?