July, 2012: Can Mindfulness Training Fix Boredom?

Occasionally in my mindfulness/meditation workshops a participant will allude to the stress of coping with work – or a life – that isn’t challenging enough. Can a meditation practice be a panacea for boredom?

Cultivating a mindful state can help with moments of boredom, but to alleviate chronic ennui, we may have to figure out how to challenge ourselves more. As Eric Maisel put it recently in a Psychology Today article (“Who Stole Your Brian?), “If you have a good brain and the world you grow up in demands that you shut it down, you are bound to suffer.”

Maisel says that it is “natural and predictable that our environment may pressure us not to think. This pressure will produce pain as we intuit that we are missing out on a native opportunity and will negatively affect our personality, producing everything from ‘math anxiety’ to ‘depression.’ If you were born to think and got pushed off that path, now is the time to make use of your available personality to craft a new, friendlier relationship with your brain.”

I agree. Mindfulness and meditation can only go so far in improving our lives. Pursuing our passions, nurturing a sense of curiosity, and taking on new learning curves is also part of the equation.

Sometimes when we feel like we’re crawling out of our skin, we need to do something different. Just ask a cicada!

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