The Benefits of Friending Boredom


When feeling bored we might think something is wrong with us, especially if the boredom is lengthy, say for more than a minute.

Boredom can be mistaken for depression, and for some is a door into the depressive abyss. Many of us were raised to think boredom is a sign of laziness, or a failure to live worthwhile, productive lives.

Laziness is one option; however, like everything else, boredom is one word with many faces. For instance, periods of boredom visit highly creative and imaginative people such as Albert Einstein. He wrote, “I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

You might say, “Well, I’m not Einstein.” While that is true, when you are not being stimulated by the world’s offerings you are left, as Einstein was, to be with yourself. What makes this experience different for you, Einstein, and others is how the boredom is interpreted, or what you do (or don’t do) with it.

If you can relax into the dullness, or shadowbox with it, you might experience an Einstein-like bubbling up of your own imaginings, motivations, and creative thoughts. It will be easier to reach for a tablet and surf, text, or play games but that is not always the best option.

The Creative Doldrums

Being alone and bored is an opportunity to discover why so many people talk about the benefits of a quiet mind. You might get comfortable in your favorite chair and imagine that the boredom is a raft you are floating on. There is little breeze so the water is still although you can occasionally hear it lapping the sides of your raft. A warm sun relaxes you.

On this raft, you discover what remains when you are completely still. You might feel your body relax until you barely notice it is there, or realize one area in your body remains tense after the rest has chilled-out and wonder, “What’s that all about?” Solutions to problems can show themselves, or old dreams might dust themselves off. Maybe you will realize what it is you want to do in the coming hour.

You may also discover that you are resisting taking the next step toward a goal because it requires effort, is uncharted territory, or might end in failure. There may be talents and skills lying dormant within that are aching to be stretched. It could be that you are in a season of lying fallow, gathering “nutrients” for creative activity and growth ahead.

“There is a time for play and a time for work, a time for creation and a time for lying fallow. And there is a time, glorious too in its own way, when one scarcely exists, when one is a complete void. I mean - when boredom seems the very stuff of life.” ~ Henry Miller


The information provided on the is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Total votes: 3979