What can we do to cure boredom?
If you’re alone, it’s pretty straightforward: get up, go out, see friends, put yourself in a new situation where you have less control over your environment and things will stimulate you.
But there are a lot of areas where boredom seems tougher to deal with: relationships, work, etc.
In the context of a relationship, stop thinking about you or your partner. Again, change your context. Don’t get dinner or drinks and talk. That relies on you two to be interesting. Go somewhere that’s already fun.
What kills most long-term relationships? A lack of excitement. The research points again and again to how important thrills are:
Bored At Work?
What about at work? Work can be boring and you can’t change the context as much. Very true and this is a serious issue: a boring job can kill you.
The key to fighting boredom at the office is not excitement, it’s finding meaning in what you do. Broadening the definition of what it is you are doing, seeing it as a mission or calling, and feeling you are making a difference can make you happier, more fulfilled and less bored.
What if YOU are boring?
What if you’re boring? People who bore others are often self-indulgent — they just talk about what interests them. We all fall prey to this on occasion.
The best lesson here is from Steven Pressfield’s advice on improving writing: keep in mind that nobody wants to read your stuff. So keep things simple and always have the audience in mind.
What about chores that are undeniably boring?
If you have to do tasks that are boring and there’s no two ways about it, don’t take a break:
You may think that taking a break during an irritating or boring experience will be good for you, but a break actually decreases your ability to adapt, making the experience seem worse when you have to return to it. When cleaning your house or doing your taxes, the trick is to stick with it until you are done.
What about when other people are boring you?
At least in some situations, don’t be afraid to let your mind wander. Especially on the phone, research shows that people actually like us better when we’re distracted: we’re less negative, less complex and more personal in our speech. We also encourage the other person to talk more.
This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
Join over 130,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.
More Must-Reads From TIME
- Meet the 2024 Women of the Year
- Greta Gerwig's Next Big Swing
- East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment
- In the Belly of MrBeast
- The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap
- How Long Should You Isolate With COVID-19?
- The Best Romantic Comedies to Watch on Netflix
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time