Just when you were getting used to counting crickets . . .
Businesses are gradually reopening and stay-at-home directives are being eased. This reopening can come with certain challenges and stresses.
Rest assured, I’ll continue to send strategies to help you reduce worry and stress as we navigate through these next phases together.
Until then . . .
Let’s go back to what I said about “counting crickets.”
Does anyone ever get used to that?
I’m talking about boredom.
Boredom. Can. Be. Painful.
Can you relate?
That’s precisely why . . .
I went on a quest to find a cure.
And, I found one that can help you!
(Make sure to read this entire post . . . there is a challenge for you to solve at the end!)
In the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl (psychiatrist and survivor of the Nazi concentration and extermination camps) wrote:
“ . . . mankind was apparently doomed to vacillate eternally between the two extremes of distress and boredom. In actual fact, boredom is now causing, and certainly bringing to psychiatrists, more problems to solve than distress.” (Page 106-107)
Boredom has been known to cause more problems than distress?!
What can we do about it? Frankl suggests:
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” (Page 105)
What a revelation!
A tensionless state is not a solution to stress . . . it’s a cause of it! It creates the stress of boredom.
For optimal mental health you need a certain degree of tension. You need a tension between:
- What you have already accomplished; and,
- What you desire to accomplish next.
That explains why on my quest to find a cure for boredom, my boredom vanished!
My mind was focused on accomplishing a freely chosen task.
I believe some people are suffering from boredom during the pandemic because their goals – what they had planned and desired to achieve next – have been put on a forced hold.
If your goals are currently on pause due to the pandemic; yet, you require the tension of striving for a goal to relieve boredom . . .
What can you do?
Look for new, interim goals to accomplish each day. I understand it’s not necessarily easy to switch gears on your goals – especially if you’re feeling the loss associated of putting some of your pre-pandemic dreams on hold.
So, let me help you to get started right now. Each day, ask yourself:
- Can I see that today can be a happy day?
- Can I see that today could be a day where I could do something meaningful and it could impact somebody else’s life?
- Can I see that I could create something today?
- Can I see getting outside and experiencing nature today?
- Can I see virtually connecting with another and having a good conversation today?
Perhaps of the five questions, only one resonates with you. Or maybe they stimulate your mind to come up with your own list of daily questions.
It’s less about the questions and more about making the decision to see yourself striving towards a meaningful goal every day.
We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we do have this day. The answers to these questions can help you to find worthwhile things that you can do to make the most of it.
Here’s the bottom line . . .
A cure for boredom is to strive for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task.
It’s not about constantly doing something. It’s about having something to do that matters to you. It’s about creating that tension between what you have already accomplished and what you desire to accomplish next.
If your pre-pandemic goals are currently on hold, search for new, interim goals to make the most of today. Accomplish those worthwhile tasks. And then . . .
Rest and repeat!
All my best, Denise Marek
NOW FOR THE CHALLENGE . . . .
To get the most from this post, select only ONE of the options below to do right now:
Easy: Boredom has been known to cause more problems than distress. Think of an example of a problem boredom could create in a person’s life.
Medium: Consider the five daily questions outlined in this post. Create your own list of up to five questions. This list could include: 1) Any of the five from this article, 2) A combination of these questions and some of your own, or 3) A list of your own daily questions.
Hard: Identify a goal you have put on hold due to the pandemic. Think about creative ways you could work around the current challenges. Are there possible actions can you take today to bring you closer to this goal?
Share your answers on Twitter —or your preferred social network – with the hashtag #MarekDenise and see what others have come up with too.