Have you noticed how fast movies are becoming, full of action in every corner of the screen? In much of contemporary culture, intensity (revving up the stimulus) is used as a “solution” to feeling bored and numb. I mention boredom and numbness together because I believe they are very much connected.
In this blog, I’ll discuss why we use intensity as a solution to boredom and what that can look like.
What is Boredom? What is Numbness?
If boredom is a lack of interest or an inability to find interesting things to pay attention to, then numbness is the loss of our capacity to enjoy anything. Whether or not they are interesting.
When bored, we might feel a bit depressed and lack the motivation to try and make life interesting for ourselves. In numbness, we are simply disconnected from our capacity to feel anything.
When faced with both these states, it is an easy solution to amp up the intensity of outside stimuli by turning up the volume. This can be through drinking more and more, starting to watch porn, driving faster, getting into other extreme sports, shopping more, using drugs and substances in higher and higher quantities. It can also impact relationships as well through arguing more intensely with those we normally care about.
Unsurprisingly, none of these strategies solve our problem.
What is Missing? Connection
The way I see it, both boredom and numbness are symptoms of us not feeling connected with ourselves in any real depth. We are drifting on the surface of life, going from one superficial conversation or TV show to the next – and we know it!
We have become consumers of shallow experiences, ever leaving us emptier than before.
So, how can we dive deeper?
If You’re Feeling Bored, Change Things Up
If you’re always with people, try and spend some time alone to get to know yourself better. Go on walks in nature, start reading a good book, and learn to meditate. Learn to be with and cherish your aloneness.
If you are always alone, try spending more time with people. Work on your social anxiety and fears with a good therapist. Risk being rejected. Keep opening up in small ways and gradually build trust with people. There is nothing like a good friendship to add life to our lives.
Learn to get in touch with your natural sensitivity. Get to know your emotions by doing some somatic therapy work. Dive deep; feel your uncried tears. Express your repressed rage in safe settings.
As you begin to let go of things (and people) that no longer serve you, you’ll discover that reconnection with yourself. It’s time to change things up and as we change, our lives must change too. Clean out your whole apartment and donate or sell everything you no longer use. Buy something new with the money, maybe something related to a new hobby you’re exploring!
If you never exercise, find a sport that is fun and commit to 2-3 times a week. Exercise is a great mood-booster, the hardest part is simply setting time aside to move your body.
It’s Time to Enjoy Your Life
When we feel connected with ourselves and others and when we live fully engaged with life, feeling bored becomes a thing of the past. We begin to actually enjoy our lives.
True enjoyment of life is the greatest antidote to both boredom and numbness. But it involves putting in the work to find that connection once again.
At Sunshine Coast Health Centre and Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic, we provide a nurturing environment where individuals can benefit from various therapies to support their treatment and recovery. If you or someone you know is looking for support with mental health and substance use, visit our website or contact us today.