Oh, the boredom! One of the most prominent downsides of the fast-paced age we live in is that even the things that used to make us on cloud nine before can lose their zeal quickly and become as boring as being stuck in traffic.
Whether you’re used to action and adventure in your life, or you abide by a strict daily routine, you’re bound to hit the wall of boredom at some point. And how could you not, with even the never-ending entertainment sources around us turning into “ordinary things” and nearly everything in life becoming common and repetitive?
We understand how you wish to have fun in anything you do the same way you used to before. Well, while you’re sitting on your couch with your cat lazily sleeping in your lap and a cold cup of tea in your hand (because you got too bored to drink it), we’re going to take you on a ride and show you how to sprinkle your life with some fun again.
1. Adults Play and Daydream Too
A general misconception is that once you step into adulthood, you have to be serious, focused, and productive at all times. Well, that in itself is a depressing thought, and many creative novelists and filmmakers dedicated their lives to fight this idea through their works.
For example, “the catcher in the rye,” a novel by J.D. Salinger, is all about a boy struggling against the idea of growing up for that reason. We also have Hayao Miyazaki, the co-founder of the famous Studio Ghibli, who directed numerous movies showing children and adults enjoying life through the little things.
The point is that we tend to forget that we’re allowed to imagine, play, and daydream as we grow up, and that’s why our spirits dim, and we lose the sense of fun in everything.
Take the Joker’s “Why so serious?” quote and put it into action – not the same action, though!
Just like how you prioritise your work, family, and commitments, give priority to your “me time” and participate in an activity you like, enter a game you find challenging, or pick up a hobby even if it isn't that productive.
That’ll help lift your mood in general, making you enjoy anything you do.
2. View Things With a Brighter Perspective
It’s only at rare times that our days flow smoothly with no obstacles or problems popping up from unexpected places.
Unfortunate events happen all the time, and they may be the reason why you’re feeling generally down. While you can’t stop nor change them, you can always change the way you think about them.
For instance, if you get stuck in traffic, instead of worrying about being late to work, you can think about the incident as an opportunity to listen to a podcast, give your mother a call, clean the area around your car seat, or even bust out your karaoke chops.
You’ll still be late to work, but you won’t be that stressed about it, which is all that matters since the situation itself is out of your hands.
Another way you can add a brighter perspective to your life is by spicing up your home or work setting’s decoration. You don’t need a whole makeover to achieve a cheerful effect; just a couple of plants by the windowsill, a pen holder with colourful pens, and a few posters of your favourite movies or superheroes on the wall would do (and no, we don’t grow out of having a favourite superhero).
3. Throw the Routine in the Trash
Often, we consider our routines as our comfort zone to the point that we get scared to change anything in the way our days go. While it’s okay to feel comfortable doing the same chores every day, it could be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Integrating new aspects into your daily life is necessary to keep your will to enjoy the new day alive.
So what should you do? If you feel like you can’t do something new or always shy away from new experiences, imagine having a more courageous alter ego and put them in control when doing new activities. That might sound a bit ridiculous at first, but it actually worked for many people and helped them make new friends, visit new places, and break the routine.
Sometimes, though, breaking the routine seems impossible not because we feel inconvenient doing so but because it’s work or family-related.
For example, a person whose day includes an 8-9 hour job or longer, which is the case for most of us, won't be able to incorporate a new activity to break the monotonous cycle. However, while the day's main theme can't be changed, some things can be altered to spice the day up. For instance, you could:
- Cook a new recipe for breakfast or dinner once a week
- Bring exercising equipment at home and work out an hour or so before heading to work
- Try out different routes to work
- Ride transportation if you usually go by car and vice versa
- Share a ride with a friend to and from work
- Do a new activity every night, be it reading, watching a movie, or even attending an evening dancing class
4. Home Isn’t as Boring as It Sounds
Whether you spend lots of time at home due to quarantine, an illness, or just a personal preference, you can still enjoy your time. Just get the idea of “staying home is boring” out of your mind because home is where comfort is, and whenever you’re comfortable, you can do anything.
All of us have this “someday” list where we keep a record of the tasks and activities we’d like to do someday but never get enough free time to. Well, that time has come. Now you can learn your mother’s recipes, take that online course you bought ages ago and never finished, or blow the dust off your guitar and sit down to practice – finally!
Doing these things will give you a sense of achievement, which will help boost your mood and kick the word “bored” out of your life.
5. Celebrate the Small Achievements
Speaking of achievements, who said you have to build the Eiffel tower or invent the parachute to be happy? Happiness comes from the smallest wins, and that’s a fact we tend to forget as we grow older and our dreams grow with us.
Managed to stick to your diet for a couple of weeks? Celebrate. Finally paid off your loan’s last settlement? Reward yourself. Succeeded to return home in time to catch the match live? Throw a party. Saved your precious phone from taking a hit or falling down? Treat yourself to a meal.
That way, your life will be like a sequence of fortunate events that spark the reward circuits of your brain and motivate you to go forward.
6. Stop Turning Down Invitations to Go Out
It’s not a habit of introverts only. No matter how social we are, all of us tend to turn down our friends’ and families’ invitations to hang out, thinking that if we’re already bored, we won’t have fun going out anyway. Well, spoiler alert: we will!
There’s no issue with limiting your socialising to the same people, but limiting it to no people at all could be the reason why you’re struggling with chronic boredom.
We all need someone to chit-chat and share our trivial happenings with. Even if you feel like you aren’t in the mood, just the act of standing up, getting dressed, and overcoming the staticity is enough to boost your mood and energy.
And that isn’t just general talk! A famous study by Researcher William Fleeson conducted on a group of people with different socialising preferences concluded that meeting up with other people makes a person more talkative and assertive, which, in turn, increases their positive emotions and lowers their sense of boredom.
7. Shut Down Your Negative Thoughts
Most of us tend to do one of two things, if not the two together: beat ourselves up or worry about anything and everything. Some people go as far as to even take their meals with a side of worry or self-criticise themselves for a decision they made 20 years ago! This is enough to ruin the sense of excitement in life for anyone.
These damaging habits result from overthinking, and to overcome them, you should learn how to stop the negative voices prattling consistently in your head. Well, shouting a loud "STOP" to the little minions having an open discussion in your head could be a way, but there are more effective methods to shut up these voices and enjoy a more peaceful life.
Eric Barker, the owner of Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog, once explained that we couldn’t filter which thoughts enter our minds, but we could choose which of them to focus on more.
As per his words, “You’re not your brain; you’re the CEO of your brain. You can’t control everything that goes on in ‘Mind, Inc.’ But you can decide which projects get funded with your attention and action.”
If you apply this practically, you’ll gradually take back the power over your mind. Instead of worrying about the future or torturing yourself over an incident that’s already over, you’ll know how to pay more attention to what makes your present better, which is all that matters for a less boring life.
8. Have Some Gratitude
Sometimes the veil of boredom falls over our eyes just because we get used to the blessings we have. For example, if you’re an adult who works a full-time job or owns a business, has a stable family, and leads healthy personal relationships, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re leading a joyful life.
It all depends on how you view them because these things, while being the stables of a healthy life, also mean routine and commitment. But, once you start having some gratitude and stop groaning about the little hassles, you'll find the "fun ingredient" in anything you do.
Finally, It All Starts From Within
While the tips mentioned above should help you view life with a new perspective and find enjoyment in everything, you should start with yourself first. In other words, you have to be a fun person from within so that you can enjoy life to the max.
We're not saying you should have a poppy personality in particular, but you can turn your inner self into a merrier one with some behaviours. For example, have some confidence, widen your horizons, and cultivate some exciting hobbies. People who own a positive mindset, have fun interests, and say "yes" more to new plans are more likely to find joy in everything.
In short, develop an edge but don’t forget to be yourself!