Mental Health

Develop Creativity through Boredom

develop-creativity-through-boredom

In today’s world we are being constantly flooded with a barrage of information and stimulus that we hardly ever get an opportunity to be bored. We are always running from one task to the other and going from one event to another. We’re constantly being entertained. There is nothing stopping us.

Be it adults or young kids, we don’t know what to do with ourselves if that external stimulus is removed or even reduced to a certain extent. We complain of boredom even when our phones run out of battery and we aren’t able to charge it or if we forget our phone at our friend’s place or in office. We struggle through detoxing from social media and find it difficult to stay away from it even for 24 hours. We are addicted to consuming content and its abnormal for us in today’s times to not do anything and just sit idle. We are hungry for dopamine and feed on it. With one like or a comment that pops up on our profile, our body starts generating the Dopamine aka pleasure molecule and then we want more and more of it because it makes us feel ecstatic. But we must understand that all of this is virtual connection that is slowly disconnecting us with our own soul.  It’s about time that we come to terms with the state of being irksome.

This time of lockdown and social distancing, even though enforced upon us, is a great opportunity for self-exploration, unleashing one’s creative abilities and for deeper family bonding.

We must understand that it is okay and normal to be bored. You should have moments of boredom. Experiencing boredom is a sign a creative and dynamic mind. It’s a great seed for sprouting creativity and ideas.

There are many advantages to letting oneself to be bored.

To list a few –

  • It allows our minds to wander into unfamiliar territory, discover skills we didn’t know we had
  • It can spark many a Eureka moment
  • In a state of boredom is when creative ideas flourish
  • It makes you take up tasks which otherwise you wouldn’t go for and you never know, you might stumble upon your newest hobby.

Self-isolation helps one to deeply connect with one’s intuitive mind. You can look deep within yourself and connect with every movement, every change and every sensation that is happening internally when you sit in peace. In fact, self-isolation should be regularly practiced by everyone, every now and again, even without it being forced upon us. It is then we will be able to regain our balance, centre and grounding.

Aim for a “Digital Detox”. Remove all sources of stimulation for one whole day.

Turn off that Wi-Fi and cellular data. Break free of the fetters of social media and experience the joy of being bored and self-aware. Avoid watching TV, put away that iPad and you will be surprised at how much time you’ve suddenly made available for yourself.

Find something new to do instead. Let your eyes and hands guide you into an activity.

Grow and tend to plants, whip up a new dish. Clean up some shelves. Maybe de-clutter the cupboard that you have been postponing forever. Finish reading that book that you started ages ago & didn’t get through because there was “no time”.

Digital detoxification will help for actively pushing out thoughts of routine duties and activities and instead nurture a sense of wonderment.

When your mind is free of distractions you become more tuned-in with everything that’s going on around you.

Hone mindfulness. Listen to the sound of the rustling leaves. Observe the intricate design of a spoon that you never noticed. Watch the sunset every evening with your cup of tea. You would be astonished at how many different birds you will see flying across the sky or chirping around you even if you are living in a bustling town. Try and notice the various trees and their myriad of colours. Observe the random person walking down the street and attempt to imagine his day’s routine and life. It’s just a matter of creative observation.

This gets the creative juices flowing. It leaves you with a sense of connection with the world around you. It amplifies your sense of ambient awareness and does only good things to lift your mood and boost mental health.

The truth is, we are scared being alone with ourselves even for 10 minutes. We fill our lives with so many unnecessary things to avoid this stillness. Remember, everything that you engage yourself into is draining your energy. So, we either use the energy into things that deplete us of energy or into things and activities that not only use our energy but also multiplies and gives back a sense of fulfilment.

Sitting in stillness is beautiful. This is a habit that needs to be cultivated. Many of you will remember a time before we had a smartphone to grab the moment, we had nothing to do. We stood around with our hands by our sides, made eye contact with passers-by, smiled at strangers and didn’t for once feel out of place. We seem to have lost this sense of ease with oneself with the habit of grabbing your smartphone and mindless scrolling and swiping, something that looks silly if you ask me but since it is commonplace, is generally accepted.

Kids in the time of quarantine –

Today our children have calendars that are even more packed than those of adults. They are constantly jumping from one task to another, from different classes to play dates to birthday parties and so on…

In their free-time, there’s always the phone or Netflix to keep them busy. Kids at the age of 8 and 9 are using social media platform to share their feelings and ‘connect’ with ‘friends’.

The constant aural and visual stimuli from notifications and likes makes it all the more difficult for them to dive deep into their minds & bodies to really explore their creative sides and find their interests. Result – overstimulated minds of kids, anxiety issues because they want to be like someone they saw on social media, body image issues and of course every problem that stems out of lack of physical movement.

Have the kids experiment with just one hour of no screen time, by putting away their phones and iPads and simply get over the anxiety hump.

Now with no social events and going out, they will get bored. Let them be bored.

Kids tend to have an inherently curious mind. They will find a way to entertain themselves eventually. They will come up with ideas for themselves. They can make a castle out of a cardboard. It’s in them!

Reward their creativity and vividness with your positive reactions and verbal appreciation. They will need some guidance and a bit of hand holding initially.

For example, you can help them work on some DIY projects.

  • Making playdough with flour and some natural ingredients for colour such as moringa powder, beetroots, etc works well.
  • Use pistachio shells to create a landscape and turn them into greeting cards.
  • Take potatoes, halved and carved into a design or a piece of lady finger. Dip it in water colour or make finger print designs and draw some animals figurines with it.
  • Get them to read using a proper hard copy of a book, not e-books. It’s a different feeling altogether when you are actually holding a book in your hand.
  • Help them learn a new word every day and teach them how to use it in a sentence.
  • Ask them to go around the house and pick 3 things that reminds them of a loving memory with their father or mother.
  • Get the kids to arrange their own cupboards. Teach them how to fold the laundry
  • Cook a nice meal together. Make the children help you wash the veggies, clean some peas, make a smoothie.
  • Make a family vision board.
  • You can even play storytelling games together and everyone can take turns, including the kids. Come up with a thought, spin a fictional story and then just run with it. It’ll be amazing to find out, what all you can think of. Let your creative juices flow.

Getting bored can be unsettling since we are not used to it these days. Living with constant stimulus can numb our senses.  But as a family you can sail through it and make the most of it. This is the best time to strengthen the family bond if you will. Now that everyone is home, you can have that much needed “we-time” together.

Back in the day, we would have parents & grandparents narrating stories to the kids to put them to sleep. We really listened because we were bored and that seemed a great quencher for the thirst of boredom thereby bringing the family unit closer. Kids today with their phones seem hardly interested when granny has to compete with YouTube.

Couples in the time of quarantine –

Even as a couple, there’s so much more you can do, which otherwise is not possible as both of you are busy in the mundane routine day in & day out.

  • Make a routine for yourself to make the most of your time. Schedule your daily tasks, both personal & professional in your planner.
  • Set aside time to sit and have a meal together or at least take a coffee break to just sit beside each other and stare out into the distance and/or maybe discuss your feelings.
  • Maybe fit in a 10-minute meditation by sitting with your partner for a peaceful start every morning.
  • Listen to some uplifting music as you make your breakfast.

You can either crib about not being able to go out, eat at restaurants and hang out with friends or you can make the most of the time you have at hand.

It’s all about your perspective and what you make of it. Stay safe!

 

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Luke Coutinho

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