By Ray Navarro MS
What’s that quote “an idle mind is the devils playground”? I don’t know, I’ll have to look that one up later. I’m sitting here, my girlfriends is in front of me working on her crafts business, her kids are running around the house making noise and doing God knows what, I’m watching TV, my favorite thing FYI Jiu Jitsu, and yet here I am so bored that I feel like I’m going to explode at any second. Luckily I’m aware enough to understand that the thoughts telling me to yell at the kids are just a creation of my stress. My desire to start an argument with my girl is just some subconscious way of coping with my boredom. Sounds like self-sabotage if you ask me.
As a therapist and suffering over thinker, I couldn’t just let go of how my brain was influencing my behavior, it felt irresponsible. Is it possible I just wasn’t comfortable in my own skin? Or maybe this was another way of my subconscious warning me that my anxiety is really high? Have I been using my coping skills…? Have I been doing my breathing exercises? Have I been exercising as much as possible? Have I been reaching out to my support system? No I haven’t. It seems like such a burden and life is so “impossible sometimes”, getting off the couch seems like an Indiana jones mission.
I have this weird feeling that most people that are bored are bored because of their perspective and their expectations. As a therapist I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen kids with every video game system, a loving family, involved in sports, and plenty of friends, yet they’re bored and want more. Should we try to lower their expectations? Is it okay to be satisfied with what you have? Most people will tell you yes, even most therapists, but what happens with ambition when you lower someone’s expectations, does that disappear?
How about learning to live with your boredom? Living in the moment and doing a gratitude list? What about watching a movie with the family or playing some “bored” games? As soon as I wrote that they started crying, so I’ll take that as a no. As you can see I don’t have many answers to helping you with your boredom because the truth is boredom is usually relative. What I can tell you is that by processing and “playing out the tape” on it I was able to find one thing to put a dent on my boredom, I wrote this letter. Maybe your one thing was reading it? The bottom line is If you’re bored, distract yourself till you’re not.