October 11, 2014

Tackling Boredom

“Oh, I’m so bored!” and “How boring!” Two common expressions which one not only hears, but I am sure, each one of us have ejaculated at some point of time or the other. The dictionary defines “boredom” as a state of weariness resulting from dullness or the tedious repetition of something. The French call it “ennui”.



Despite the fact that people in the 21st century have access to more forms of entertainment and leisure time activities than any other previous generation, the complaint of “feeling bored” has not decreased in any significant degree.

Boredom reflects a peculiar state of mind or situation, as it may arise either out of having too much or too little of anything, be it time, money, status or material possessions. It also arises from the modern-day malaise of being too self-centered and undisciplined.

The generations before us led fairly predictable lives, in which the monotony of daily life was broken by festivals or family occasions such as weddings and thread ceremonies.

In addition, people lived in joint families, which had the twin advantage of providing ample company and lots of work too within the family. A tight schedule segmented the day, denoting times for eating, for prayer and for other activities. Moreover, since life expectancy was short, there was, literally, no time in which to feel bored.

Modern-day life, especially for those living in the cities, offers a wide variety of labour-saving devices for the household as well as a great deal of leisure-time activities during which one can “enjoy oneself.” Strangely enough, when not faced with a challenge, human beings lapse into remaining passive, and consequently, boredom sets in.The wide variety of electronic gadgets – the smart phone, digital camera, Kindle, the Internet and the the social media sites as also the plethora of programs offered on  TV channels – all these fail to enthuse the senses and the individual feels, as before, a sense of boredom, a feeling of déjà vu, of having done it all before.

When an individual ceases to feel enthusiastic or to get a thrill of living, he is bored. Despite the hangdog expression, it is difficult to work up sympathy for a victim of boredom, although the problem is undoubtedly a serious one for the afflicted person. When there are millions in this world facing genuine problems of being deprived of health, shelter, family support, and so many other difficulties, the question to be asked is whether the problem of being bored is a valid one or not.

It has been my experience that more often than not, boredom is a state of mind, which is largely self-created; hence, the cure is also in one’s own hands. In fact, I believe an educated, affluent person has no business being bored! If he is suffering from this malaise, it is time to do some introspection. He should try to ascertain the causes and find the remedies to combat the condition.

An outing is an ideal way to break the monotony of the dreaded routine.

Cycle of boredom
Many people drift into drinking, smoking, gambling and even drugs and casual sex because of boredom. In the educated, such drifting is unpardonable. The best way of combating boredom is to assess the reasons for feeling that way. Perhaps, as in the case of home-makers or working women, the days have become too routine bound and everyday the chores and time-schedules follow a predictable pattern.

One should then break the routine, by taking a break – literally. One should take a holiday, go for a spa treatment, visit friends, go out for lunch or on a picnic. A change is always rejuvenating.

For full time homemakers, the cycle of boredom can be broken by developing new interests and hobbies or taking up those, which had been left off to cope with domestic demands. One’s interest in reading, creative writing, painting, or sculpting, or even singing and classical dance should always be kept up. A wide range of interests is the ideal antidote for boredom.

Another socially useful project is to teach young children or poor women in the locality. Interacting with people from a different social level and dealing with deprived children will open our eyes to the benefits, which we enjoy. A better appreciation of our advantages will stem the tide of discontent, which is most often the root cause of boredom.

Just as homemakers, who are within the confines of their domestic boundaries, need to step out of their homes, so too should working women step outside the confines of their office. They need to establish closer ties with those who live in the neighborhood and they too need to have some hobbies, which interest them, after their official and personal obligations are taken care of.

Stepping outside one’s comfort zone helps one to remain fresh mentally, and this in turn, keeps boredom at bay.

Highs and lows are part of the mental and emotional make-up of human beings, and as such, it is natural to feel depressed, discontented or bored from time to time. In fact, such negative emotions may spur one to greater achievements after a period of introspection. It is only important that negative moods should not blot out all that is positive in our lives.

Apart from activity, introspection and a balanced assessment of all that makes our life worthwhile, one should also take care of one’s health, as  often, bad health or other physical ailments lead to inactivity, boredom or depression.

Physical activities such as swimming, playing tennis, badminton etc. offer a healthy outlet for one’s energies and interests. Going for walks, either alone or with one’s family, is invigorating both mentally and physically.Family outings such as picnics, short day trips to nearby scenic spots, or longer vacations are essential as a change of scene breaks the monotony of everyday life.

Home gardening is another creative and absorbing activity. If you have some space around your house, turn it into a beautiful garden. But if you are living in a flat even a few posts in the balcony can refresh you and keep your hands and mind busy. Plus you will have the satisfaction of having accomplished something.

Tackle boredom by taking up a hobby like home-gardening.

The greatest men and women of our times have been admired because they were achievers who had a great zest for life. Don’t waste precious hours feeling bored. Step out, look in, look out, and free yourself from the shackles of boredom. Also read Fight stress with leisure.

(Contributed by R. C)


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