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Bored? Don’t go online. Try this instead.

Photo: Creative Commons

By Mallory Morales

I love being bored, said no one ever.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a 2010 study found that people who tend to be bored often are over two times more likely to die of heart disease than less bored folks.

Social media and going online may seem like a quick fix to squelch your boredom, but Scott Tindale, a social psychologist at Loyola University Chicago, warns that routines (which include scrolling endlessly through Pinterest every time you need a distraction from studying) can  end up making you more bored.  

Tindale suggests keeping an arsenal of activities to do on backlog; that way, when you’re bored your first instinct isn’t to jump online.

“Boredom is just the realization that whatever you’re doing is no longer satisfying to you,” said Tindale.

If you find yourself awakened from an hour long Facebook coma and those pangs of boredom are as strong as ever,  try out some of these alternatives to going online, if only for your heart’s sake.

Have a face-to-face conversation or call someone:

According to the Journal of Health Communication, researchers discovered the majority of Facebook interactions are between people who know each other in daily life.

Tindale warns that, “If you spend all of your time online it’s probably preventing you from doing other things. People who have only virtual relationships are inhibited from having actual relationships” he said.

Shake up your routine a bit, instead of posting a meme on your friends wall, call  them instead; the research shows you probably know each other well enough in real life to engage with them in reality.

Practice mindfulness:

It’s not just for granola babies. Mindfulness meditation focuses on capturing thoughts, emotions, and physical senses as they happen. Studies have shown that mindfulness can increase a person’s sense of well-being and happiness.

During meditation, participants settle on the floor in a comfortable position. The method focuses on breathing and experiencing touch and sound in the  present moment, which draws the attention away from future stresses.

Meditation equals happy and happy equals not bored. The math is foolproof.

The Wellness Center on Loyola’s Lakeshore campus even offers mindfulness meditation classes at no charge for students. 

Do your “when I get time” activity:

Real talk, those dishes in your sink are acquiring some funk, so instead of tweeting at that DJ the for the bazillionth time, it’s time to think about the big picture. Dr. Tindale gives his advice on the matter.

“Household chores may be boring, but they have to be done; the same with homework. Accomplishing boring tasks can lead to an overall sense of happiness” said Tindale.

Research shows that accomplishing small goals provides a sense of progress which feeds into a sense of happiness.

Still not convinced? Instead of chores, learn how to poach an egg, or paint your nails, or practice the splits.

If none of these ideas float your boat, check out this Oprah endorsed list of 50 things every person should know how to do.

 

Daydream:

It’s more than just a song title, or gazing distantly, zombie-faced, daydreaming has a wealth of bodily benefits.

According to a 2013 Psychology Today  article, daydreaming can help a person cope with the stress associated with boredom and improve overall well-being.

Daydreaming can also lead to higher levels of creativity. In Art Journal, one woman explains that some of her best works of art are inspired by daydreaming. Many artists seem to agree; seriously, there are shocking amounts of videos on YouTube about on or relating to daydreaming. 

If you haven’t already heard of Kid President, check him out. Here’s a dose of motivation from him:

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.