Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash
As I have mentioned in the previous story about my forgetfulness, I have never paid attention to enough degree to be able to recall things later on.
It all comes down to the ATTENTION.
Recently, I read an IELTS reading article named “Why being bored is stimulating and fun, too” and discovered a whole new aspect that affects our ATTENTION on a basis — BOREDOM.
I have long understood that boredom is the most creative process of our brain. In fact, great ideas are most likely to be created in the free time when we try to fill the void of boredom rather than in our working state.
However, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Reading the article has helped me to profoundly understand the link between attention, cognitive tunnel, and boredom.
It dawned on me that what Duhigg mentioned about the Cognitive Tunnel is actually when we become bored.
The central feature of boredom is a failure to put our ‘attention system’ into gear…repeating failing to engage attention can lead to a state where we do not know what to do anymore and no longer care.
The easier you get bored, the more likely you are to be in a cognitive tunnel.
People who are motivated by pleasure seem to suffer particularly badly. Other personality traits, such as curiosity, are associated with a high boredom threshold. It seems those who bore easily face poorer prospects in education, their career and even life in general.
Boredom is, indeed, the bigger picture of what truly affects our attention. This means that it is not only about the symptom of constantly being in the cognitive tunnel but it also the way you perceive the stimulation around you — in the face of boredom.
Every day, you make hundreds of judgments about whether things are boring or exciting. However, in most cases, these judgments are biased and strongly influenced by the materialism.
The dilemma here is that — things that are truly beneficial to you are often boring, especially in a society where your attention is something every company wants. Companies crave your attention, engaging you with videos and ads. The consumerism industry tries to create overstimulating products to stimulate you and make you believe it is the reality.
Beauty brand uses overstimulation to make you feel insecure and thus, buy their products to meet the filtered beauty standard.
Movies also exploit overstimulation, which makes us believe that love must be dramatic, must go up and down like a roller coaster to be true love.
Similarly, pornography uses overstimulation to satisfy you — but it reflects unrealistic reality.
If you are not aware of this strategy, you will have unrealistic views of life and less response to everyday stimuli without even realizing it.
In this sense, the reason we are bored so easily is that we have exposed to too much overstimulation. As a result, we hold unrealistic expectations about life. Instead of seeking yet more mental stimulation, perhaps we should leave our boredom alone.
Disconnect, change the way we approach boredom.
Let ourselves be immersed in the real world, where there are gentle but serene stimuli and get used to it, use boredom to motivate us to engage with the world in a more meaningful way.
Those who ‘approach’ a boring situation — in other words, see that it’s boring and get stuck in anyway — report less boredom than those who try to avoid it by using snacks, TV or social media for distraction.
With the new insight into boredom and the negative feelings that follow, I no longer find more stimulation to be happy, I learn how to get used to the boredom and stick with it anyway.
I’m not unhappy, I’m just bored. By calling out the true names of my emotions, I understand and believe more in my healing process.
If possible, try to stay calm and joyful as well as keep ourselves from excitement (overstimulation).
Instead, concentrate on our usual everyday routine.
If we become interested in some excitement, or in our own change, we will become completely involved in our busy lives, and we will be lost.
But if our mind is calm and constant, we can keep ourselves away from the noisy world even though we are in the midst of it.
In the midst of noise and change, our mind will be quiet and stable.
Everyday life itself is enlightenment.
.     .      .
A side note
This reminds me of healthy eating. I used to like everything full of bold flavor — extra salty, extra sweet, and extra greasy. Then, I realized why we ate uncontrollably and became addicted to food through my research online.
That’s because the synthesized sugar in food will cause our blood sugar to spike and peak. Thus, the next time we absorb food, we crave for those that can offer much more sugar to once again hit the peak.
In contrast, natural sugar makes our blood sugar rise slower and more stable. So in the next meal, we are more likely to opt for food that has a stable sugar level.
Choose wisely and learn how to be at ease with boredom and calmness