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To Be Bored to Death Is the Ultimate Creativity Hack

To Be Bored to Death Is the Ultimate Creativity Hack

We hate being bored, we hate it so much that some people are willing to get electrocuted rather than be bored, as an experiment proved. Boredom, in recent years, has become an interesting topic for academics recently. This is evident with the recent conclusion of International Interdisciplinary Boredom Conference which gathered a significant number of scholars in Warsaw in April 2017. " At this event, people flock to talks about toast, double yellow lines, sneezing, and vending-machine sounds, among other snooze-inducing topics", reports Atlantic's Jude Stewart . So why there is so much interest in studying boredom?

Also Read: Tweaking Your Morning Routine Can Make You More Productive All Day

What is boredom?

John D. Eastwood in his paper 'The Unengaged Mind: Defining Boredom in Terms of Attention' defines boredom as "the aversive experience of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity." But the research into boredom didn't stop by just defining it. In a paper titled ' Types of boredom: An experience sampling approach' by a group German researchers published on the journal Motivation and Emotion identifies five types of boredom:

1. indifferent
2. calibrating
3. searching
4. reactant
5. apathetic

Even though we hate being bored, boredom can be actually beneficial for you as it is being proved that boredom is the ultimate creativity hack.

Does being bored make you more creative?

In 2014, two studies were carried out by researchers from University of Central Lancashire, UK . The first involved 80 participants taking part in either a boring writing activity or not (control group) followed by a creative task. The second study involved a further 90 participants who varied in the type of boring activity they undertook (either a boring written activity, a boring reading activity, or a control) and the type of creative task that followed. The results from these studies suggested that boring activities resulted in increased creativity and that boring reading activities lead to more creativity in some circumstances than boring written activities.

Why does boredom lead us to such great creativity powers?

Andreas Elpidorou of the University of Louisville points out that "boredom helps to restore the perception that one's activities are meaningful or significant." Essentially, it acts as a "regulatory state that keeps one in line with one's projects. In the absence of boredom, one would remain trapped in unfulfilling situations, and miss out on many emotionally, cognitively, and socially rewarding experiences. Boredom is both a warning that we are not doing what we want to be doing and a 'push' that motivates us to switch goals and projects."

According to Karen Gasper and Brianna Middlewood of Pennsylvania State University , "boredom operates similarly to feeling happy or excited." "It results in you trying to approach something that, in this case, is more meaningful or interesting. It encourages people to explore because it signals that your current situation is lacking so it's kind of a push to seek out something new."

So next time when you are bored and about to reach for your smartphone, allow yourself to daydream, and create chances to make positive connections. Maybe you will come up with the next million-dollar idea.

(Image Credit: Thinkstock)

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