If you're never bored, it's a problem

There I was, driving on the highway into the sun, glaring light flashing through the leaves of passing trees.

I felt saturated with sunshine from a weekend in Santa Barbara and had a long drive ahead of me.

I wanted to listen to something entertaining. So my brother turned on Dear Hank and John with an episode called Summertime Hotline.

That's when I heard it.

A 14 year old girl called in. She and her brother were home with 2 hours to kill and this was their question: "The internet isn't working, we're so bored."

They were so bored they couldn't stand it. I mean, they didn't know what to do.

Do you remember that feeling?

It's amazing how bad we are at being bored, even as adults.

I'm sure you've noticed that creative ideas happen while folding laundry, showering or doing nothing in particular.

That's because being bored isn't a problem in and of itself. Nor is auto-pilot or mind wandering.

When you get bored, you ignite a network in your brain called the Default Mode, where your brain sifts through things and puts them together. It can lead to your most brilliant solutions.

"Once you start day dreaming and allow your mind to wander, you start thinking beyond the conscious, sort of into the subconscious and it allows different connections to take place." -Boredom researcher Dr. Sandi Mann

If we constantly act on the urge to check our phones, we prevent precious brain connections. We cover up the ability to have spontaneous and creative ideas.

I invite you resist the urge to check your phone once today. 

I don't quite know what to tell the teenagers. Like us, I'm sure they'll figure out that boredom is productive.

Lauren ZieglerComment