5 Steps to Reduce Boredom and Stress

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Boredom plays a part in keeping yourself in anxiety and stress, but your day can become fun if you follow these simple tips.

A link between boredom and anxiety occurs when you have a restless feeling, but you can’t bring yourself to do anything useful. You might describe it as a feeling of apathy. If you feel under pressure because you believe there is only one choice and it’s not what you want, boredom increases the stress you feel.

Here is a short article that looks at what boredom is, provides another way to see it, and includes simple steps that anyone can do to feel better.

Boredom: A Snapshot

We all know that feeling.

You feel listless and have no energy. It’s not necessarily that you want to do something; it’s more of not wanting to do anything whilst under pressure. Others might suggest various activities, or you might consider something else to do yourself. Still, nothing seems to get you excited or motivated at all.

You will remember feeling bored as a child. You felt it on those rainy days when you wanted to go out and play, but your parents wouldn’t let you.

I remember a few days when I’d constantly complain that there was nothing to do: even though the toy cupboard was full of things I could have used to amuse myself.

Perhaps you can remember something similar from your own past?

Generally speaking, anxiety and boredom are very similar in some ways. 

  • A lack of control over daily activities
  • Low levels of mental stimulation
  • Poor perception of time
  • Loss of interest
  • Confusing instructions
  • Fear of making a mistake

However, you can experience any of the above if anxiety or boredom are around.

Take the fear of making a mistake, for example. Someone may have asked you to do something, but you didn’t feel confident in your abilities, and it was crucial. It’s only natural that you would be afraid to get it wrong in such circumstances.

You might have been aware of some consequences, like being shamed or not being able to do something you really wanted to do, that increased your fear of failing. However, if you believe you’re not good enough, naturally, you’d have anxiety around that thought.

Isn’t that a self-fulfilling prophesy?

Being stuck when there appears no way out is a typical trigger for anxiety, partially because of the fear of failure, but having a lack of choice exacerbates the anxiety with added boredom.

Take Boredom and Anxiety Apart

For me, the common factor in boredom and anxiety is meaninglessness.

Anxiety from wanting to make the most of your time and not wanting to do anything through boredom is like a pincer movement: you feel torn in two directions.

Alternatively, suppose you find a worthwhile activity. In that case, your boredom will vanish, and you will no longer feel the tension between the two. That restless feeling will go, and you won’t feel so anxious.

Nobody else’s suggestion helps you find something to do. As stated above, the activity that fits the bill is the one that you find worthwhile. Nobody else can suggest anything, as they are not you and have no idea of your inner world.

Only you can find something to do.

If you’re feeling a lack of energy, thinking of something yourself can be challenging. It’s as if your imagination has gone offline somehow. If only you could jigger yourself up.

The truth is, you can!

You could access anxiety counselling if boredom, frustration and anxiety plague you regularly. In addition, a little extra understanding of what’s going on might help, along with the 5 simple steps I mentioned.

Add Meaning to Your Day

You need to add meaning to your day, so it’s hard if you’re relying on something randomly happening to bring you out of your boredom. A better way to get rid of boredom is to engage with the day, which means you have to be proactively involved.

It’s you that has to come up with something. You have to find somehow the strength to come out of your comfort zone and shine a little. Joy comes from within, and so does life. There’s nothing external that will excite you enough for long enough.

You might get a hit from shopping trips or numb yourself by drinking alcohol, but the relief is temporary, and later you’re back to square one. However, if you suffer from boredom, a day can be very long.

I seldom get bored, but I will tell you a secret. It’s stopped me from getting bored so much that I have to share it.

I have a list of things I like to do, and rather than stick with one task or activity for too long, I mix up the range of things I do every day. For example, I walk the dog around the block or talk to a friend if I have been at the computer too long or feel tired of doing the same thing.

Proactively planning to ease boredom
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

I can choose from a range of things to ease the monotony. At the end of the day, I reflect on how varied my day was and go to bed, reminding myself that I have filled my day. I have stretched myself by using different skills or faculties, which feels good.

5 Simple Steps to Spice Up Your Day

Here are a few questions and simple tasks you can do that will stop you from getting bored, so you feel you are making the most of the day.

  1. Write a list of different activities you like to do
  2. Categorise them – work, play, necessary, social, exercise or whatever
  3. At the start of the day, take a look at your timetable
  4. Schedule in some of the things you like to do, choosing from different categories
  5. At the end of each day, reflect on what you enjoyed and feel good!

If something gets in the way…

Like any exercise, you probably won’t feel the benefit immediately. Any such strategy takes a few attempts to improve its effectiveness, so you will need to try these steps for a few days to see positive changes.

If that doesn’t work, it could be that you carry some hidden trauma. In that case, maybe it’s time to talk to someone.

In Conclusion

Boredom is a component of the range of issues we feel related to anxiety. However, if we find a way to bring meaning into our day, we feel more engaged because we are doing something worthwhile.

Using a variety of distractions we enjoy to add spice to the day, we can find something to break the monotony and bask in the warm feeling we did something effective towards improving our mental health.

What will you do?

Header photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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