Boredom can strike even at the most exciting expat locations. Luckily, you have to do very little for it to go away, according to scientists.
“Boredom is a really important emotion,” says Sandi Mann, a senior psychology lecturer and author of The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom Is Good, who wants us to embrace world-weariness rather than fight it. “If you find that you are stuck on a problem or you’re really worried about something and you can’t seem to find a way out, then take some time out, just be bored and let your mind wander and you might just find that a creative solution will just pop into your head,” she promises.
Tap into your mind
Why does boredom spark creativity and problem solving? Because, essentially, it is a search for neural stimulation that isn’t satisfied, according to Mann. If we can’t find the stimulation, our mind will create it, she explains. However, this will only happen if we truly allow the mind to wander and daydream. This means only doing activities that require little or no concentration – like walking a familiar route, swimming lengths, or even just sitting with your eyes closed.
It also means that reaching for your phone or tablet is a definite no-no. Such devices may be the boredom killers of choice for many, but aren’t helping in the long run, according to Mann. “We’re trying to swipe and scroll the boredom away,” she says. “But in doing that, we’re actually making ourselves more prone to boredom, because every time we get our phone out we’re not allowing our mind to wander and to solve our own boredom problems.”