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How Can Boredom Be Beneficial?

By: Danielle Bertini, LPC

I think we can all say a collective experience the world has shared this year (among other things) is that we are BORED. With the pandemic still around and most activities continuing to be shut down, there truly is not much to do to occupy our time. And here’s the thing—boredom is generally viewed as an unpleasant emotional state. When you feel bored and fatigued, 10 minutes can feel like an eternity. Because of this, we often desire to escape from boredom, often with distractions (such as video games, movies, books, etc.). However, these short-term solutions sometimes only strengthen the grip of boredom. You can think of this phenomenon like an addiction—we need more and more intense stimulation to fight boredom.

Although boredom gets a bad rap, it actually has many benefits. Heshmet (2020) discusses five benefits of being bored:

  1.     Boredom can improve our mental health. It’s no secret that in today’s world we are overloaded with information, which can cause a lot of distractions. And when our brains are overloaded with information, it means that we are unable to be fully attentive to things. With this in mind, taking a break can be an important way for our brains to relax and alleviate stress.
  1.     Boredom can increase creativity. Boredom can be a good time to turn your attention inwards and reflect, especially with allowing your mind to wander and even daydream. A study done in 2018 found that when people were made to do “boring” tasks, they were able to foster more creative ways of thinking because it encouraged their minds to wander.
  1.     Boredom motivates a search for novelty. Without a level of boredom, there would be no need to seek out adventure. “Great achievements are facilitated with dissatisfaction with the status quo” (Heshmet, 2020).
  1.     Boredom motivates the pursuit of new goals. Boredom encourages us to shift our goals/projects to ones that are more fulfilling and worth pursuing than what we are currently engaged in. Boredom is a good sign that what we are currently doing is uninteresting and unchallenging. Although it is okay to pursue those kinds of activities, it’s a good emotional signal that we are not doing what we want to be doing.


  1.     Boredom and self-control skills. Boredom can affect the ability to focus and pay attention because interest is lost. For students in class, this can often lead to disengagement and poor performance. Learning to endure boredom at a young age is great preparation for developing self-control skills, such as regulating your thoughts, emotions and actions. This is because the ability to handle boredom is correlated with the ability to focus and self-regulate.

With these different benefits in mind, it becomes clearer that we should embrace boredom rather than try to escape it. If you find yourself struggling with how to handle boredom, you may find it helpful to talk with one of our Chicago counselors at Symmetry Counseling. You can contact Symmetry today by calling 312-578-9990 to get matched with one of our licensed counselors. 


Heshmat, S. (2020, April 04). 5 Benefits of Boredom. Retrieved January 07, 2021, from

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