The Power of Boredom.
I read an article where Neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists confirmed that if our minds are too stimulated, it can impact our creativity and imagination. They recommend boredom as the antidote. You see, there is an area of our brain called the Default Mode Network, when you are bored, this part of the brain is stimulated and that's when the ideas, imagination and creativity starts to flow.
Contrary to this, my writing course recommends that you read as much as you can to gain new ideas, expose yourself to different writing techniques and genres. I'm a fairly good student so naturally I took the advice and set about reading books from different genres (check out my blog Books, Books, Books), various magazines I have never read before, consuming all the articles waiting for inspiration and ideas to flow, blogs, research...
Reflecting back, there have been times when I’ve sat down to write whether it be writing a blog or doing my assignment and I’ve drawn a blank. I would get more frustrated and could only see a blank space, darkness.
Exasperated I would get up from my seat, turn the lap top off and walk away. I knew I needed time out, time to forget the blank pages and hope the words would return. Sometimes I would leave it for a day, other times two or three days. I knew when the time was right to return as I would feel compelled to write something and that’s when the words would flow.
What did I do for those days? I carried on with life but avoided books, magazines and social media, although the latter was more difficult. I did continue to write a daily journal, this was only a line or two and generally consisted of the days observations. To put it in one word, I unplugged.
I do agree with the Neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists, in fact I actually feel validated by them. That said, it’s almost disappointing that I need science to validate my feelings, I think that’s a discussion for another time.
I would say, as with all things in life, it's about balance. I need the books, magazines, social media etc for ideas but I also know when I've had an overload of information and need to take a break and let boredom set in.
It's important that we all take time to experience boredom, let our minds wander, unplug and recharge.
Perhaps it should be recommended for our children, they can learn how to be more creative and imaginative in play. I remember when I was little, sitting in a washing basket singing 'row row row your boat', rocking side to side, I was happy as Larry! This was a time when there were only four television channels, we had to use our imagination.
Why don’t you try boredom this weekend?
Unplug, recharge and if it helps, find yourself a washing basket and try some childhood regression.