They’re the two words no parent wants to hear, mostly because they’re usually said in that whiney, nails-down-a-chalkboard tone: “I’m boooored.” But, as it turns out, boredom can actually be a good thing – which is music to our ears as we struggle to the end of the second week of school holidays.
Boredom breeds creativity
A 2014 study put test subjects through a range of boring reading and writing tasks, followed by a creative task. The study found that those performing the most boring tasks were more creative when it came time to try the final task. The role of daydreaming in increasing creativity was also identified – those whose minds were able to wander (largely, as a result of their boredom) demonstrated more creative ways of thinking.
It’s good for our mental health
A life constantly full of engagement and excitement sounds pretty exhausting. If we’re to believe that ‘everything in moderation’ is key to a happy life, it goes without saying that taking some time out to simply be bored can’t be such a bad thing after all.
Daydreaming makes us ambitions
In 2011, researchers found that, when our mind wanders, our thoughts are generally future-focused. They also found that individuals with high working memories were more likely to engage in prospective mind-wandering, and that daydreaming can be useful in our day-to-day lives, too. Suddenly, doing ‘nothing’ doesn’t seem so bad after all!
It may improve intuition
The very feeling of boredom lets you know that something isn’t quite right at that given point – there is something you would rather be doing, but you aren’t quite sure what it is just yet. Boredom gives us that push to figure out what it is that we want to be doing, and could be training your intuitive ability to know when something isn’t quite right.
Boredom inspires us
Finding something to do when you’re bored is like hitting the jackpot – often, we end up throwing ourselves into whatever activity has taken our fancy. A 2018 study of boredom in the classroom found that it led some children to take on an activity or topic they had never explored.