Time to banish boredom

As the winter months linger on, Karen Martin, a qualified hypnotherapist operating out of Salomons Estate, reveals how boredom can negatively impact our health. But, as she explains, practising self-care can combat boredom and help us live our lives to the fullest


February can be a gloomy month. Grotty weather and dark days make it easy to slip into the habit of inertia that’s hard to break. But the idea that doing nothing is relaxing is flawed.

While we all need down-time, too much of it can be bad for both our physical and mental health. Boredom is a form of stress that we are often reluctant to own up to.

Admitting we are stressed implies that we are needed, busy, possibly quite important. But to say that we’re bored suggests a lack of imagination, initiative or having a fulfilling life of purpose and achievement.

In the days when children should be seen and not heard, before technology delivered unlimited entertainment, boredom was a normal childhood experience. This was considered a healthy part of development and an inquiring mind. In our faster paced world, children rarely have to make their own fun.

Whether how much this inhibits progress is hard to know. Neurologically, brains need stimulation to remain focused and productive. Socially and culturally, we need inspiration and motivation for work, education, friends, partners, and ourselves.

Chronic boredom has been linked with mental health problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression. If you’re bored with life, it’s hard to be carefree. Practising self-care requires effort and we must care enough about ourselves to make that effort.



A study of 7,500 British adults found that people who were often bored at work were more likely to die earlier and 2.5 times more likely to die of heart disease than those who weren’t bored. They also reported less physical activity and poorer health. It seems that dying of boredom is a thing.

With reduced attention spans, less impulse control, and the need for instant gratification, more people are spending their time endless scrolling through their phones or sitting in front of the telly which are favoured over purposeful occupations. And yet, it’s the difficult things to master that take time and effort which lead to fulfilling and satisfying states of mind and robust mental health.



Finding the motivation to commit to a rewarding activity means making time. ‘I’m too busy’ is a worn-out excuse and can be resolved by sticking something in the diary so you have to schedule it into your day. Doing the activity regularly will eventually create a habit, making your new year resolutions more likely to continue into February and beyond.



Like depression, boredom can creep up on us over time until it becomes the norm. Boredom as a state is down to circumstance and lifestyle. As a trait, it’s a characteristic that some people are more prone to than others. People who don’t like change will tolerate boredom for longer than those who are less anxious and more able to take risks. For some, boredom is safe and comforting, for others, it’s a prison or a trap.



As a nation of negative thinkers, we tend to overthink and catastrophise, often concluding that no good will come from any effort made and think, ‘what’s the point?’ That way lies more of the same boring life.

Turning that mindset around can be achieved by nurturing an attitude of gratitude towards yourself and all that’s good in your life. This can help you to accept the things in life you can’t change and take charge of the things you can.



Whether or not you take charge of your life, the world will keep changing around you. Boredom, like happiness, can be fleeting or cyclical as you go through the different phases of life.

Sometimes, sitting with the stillness of boredom, knowing it will pass, is the right thing to do, although procrastinating for too long can prolong the misery. Equally, making decisive change is good if you’re well informed and have taken the time to assess all options. Otherwise, you could end up replacing one boring job (or marriage) for another.



Putting grown-up pants on and jumping out of your comfort zone is exciting and excitement is the opposite of boredom. Those who are risk averse are more likely to be stuck in a rut than the brave and the reckless. There’s a happy medium and we all have our limits and boundaries to push. For some, parkour is a challenge and for others, stepping off a pavement is a milestone. Some will leap towards meaningful purpose and some will take baby steps.

To be bored is to be stuck in the waiting room of life, eating rubbish and staring at a screen of meaningless content with no-one to talk to. Sometimes, starting a conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to for a while will stimulate an arrangement which will relieve boredom and inspire other conversations and activities.

There is a misguided assumption that, if someone is bored, they must be boring, just as if someone is lonely, they must be unlovable. This is unfair and suggests that when life becomes tedious, as it normally does, it’s somehow shameful to own up to it.

Pretending life is one big adventure, when it isn’t, will lead to disappointment and disillusionment. Making a boring life more interesting means owning and challenging it with determination and an intuitive understanding of your own needs.

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter