Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Solutions to Boredom

Boredom is an emotional state. When one feels helpless or apathetic in what he is doing, it may lead to unhealthy or hurtful behaviors, habits, and even addictions. If unaddressed, boredom can stay as a permanent resident, thereby blocking directions for renewal.

When I catch myself feeling bored, it's usually linked to my mind functioning routinely. Work has become mechanical. I begin to watch the clock. I experience tedium in moments of tiredness or reduced mindfulness. It's in those moments when I make a deliberate shift in my perception. You see, boredom is a chosen cognitive activity.

Researcher Csikszentmihalyi says "flow" is antidote to boredom. He concludes that finding greater meaning in our work is the key:  "The psychic entropy peculiar to the human condition involves seeing more to do than one can actually accomplish and feeling able to accomplish more than what conditions allow."  He showed in his research on boredom that excitement and challenge result from shift of perception connected to purpose, especially when matched to one's abilities and gifts.

I consider my self deeply fortunate to be doing stimulating, interesting work. Each person I meet and attempt to help heal is unique and special. I can feel energy during sessions. How can that be boring!  Most importantly, something wonderful happens. The act of helping people heal their minds and souls, one person at a time, is a great purpose to live. This meaning fuels my vitality as a therapist. It immunizes myself against boredom.

Are you bored?  You can keep it at bay by working mindfully. Intentionally keep things fresh. And more significantly, look for the ultimate meaning in the things you do.

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