Boredom Can Be Good For Your Health

The human brain is a powerful tool. Always on, the brain is thinking and dealing with decisions and stressors and subconscious activities, but as much as the human brain function has a large capacity, it also has limits. It’s critical for brain health to let ourselves be bored from time to time. For one, being bored can help improve social connections. When we're not busy with other thoughts and activities, we focus inward, as well as looking to reconnect with friends and family. Being bored can also help foster creativity and improve overall brain health. During exciting times, the brain releases the feel-good chemical dopamine. When the brain has fallen into a predictable, monotonous pattern, we often feel bored, sometimes even depressed. This might be because we have lower levels of dopamine. One approach is to retrain the brain to actually enjoy these less exciting, and perhaps boring, times. The Italians have a name for it: “il dolce far niente” — "the sweetness of doing nothing.” So, ignore your great-grandmother’s adage that “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” and give yourself some elbow room to be bored. Meditate, pray, watch the grass grow, or just contemplate the universe. Your brain will be happier and healthier when it coexists with idle moments.