Feeling restless and discontented?
You could be boring yourself to tears.
On the other spectrum of extreme busyness is boredom, which can be equally draining on our well-being. Jessica Ducey Akers, LICSW, a therapist in the Partial Hospital Day Program at Butler Hospital, cautions about the dangers of boredom, including:

  • Feelings of dissatisfaction, which may exacerbate depressed mood.
  • Anxiety.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Unhappiness.
  • Feelings of meaninglessness.
  • Increase in alcohol or drug abuse.

There are, however, remedies, such as activities that distract and/or activities that help us feel a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

Distraction: If you are prone to anxiety and find yourself worrying a lot, try distracting yourself from your own thoughts by reading a novel, doing a crossword puzzle, cleaning, or exercise.

Fulfillment and happiness: For a longer-term sense of fulfillment, engage in activities and connections that bring joy and meaning to your life. Akers says, “Sometimes people feel confused about what those activities and connections are. Good old-fashioned trial and error can work very well for self-discovery.

Get out of the rut

  • Try something completely different.
  • Enlist a friend or family member to do something with you. That increases structure while allowing you spend time with someone you appreciate.
  • Journal about or talk about those experiences with loved ones. Being mindful of your experiences helps you really appreciate how good it can feel to try something new.
  • Take risks in your interactions, whether at work or with your family. Speak up in a meeting, even if your heart is pounding, or say “no” to a someone you feel you have overextended yourself to too many times. This can help increase self-esteem.
  • Ask for more of what you need from loved ones. Akers says, “Sometimes we feel others should know what we need and give it without provocation, but it is each of our responsibility to identify and ask for what we need from others. This takes practice.”

Free Mental Health Screening

If you’re feeling bored a lot, it could indicate a deeper problem such as feeling dissatisfied in one or more relationships or at work. Talking to a therapist or mentor can help you to discover what you need to feel better and how to ask for it. If there are other problems contributing to boredom and emptiness, such as anxiety and depression, you can also take a free confidential online mental health screening.