Boredom may seem like an ordinary and simple emotion, but it can hide more serious and profound problems. Psychoanalyst and emotion specialist Hilary Handel discusses the varieties of boredom and her practice of dealing with it.
What is boredom and how to overcome it?
Boredom is an emotional and sometimes psychological state when one loses concentration, is not interested in one’s surroundings, or feels that a day or period of time is dull or tedious. Boredom can be a part of life, but sometimes it is a symptom of something deeper that needs careful consideration.
Causes of chronic boredom
Based on her psychotherapy practice, Hilary Handel identifies several major causes of chronic boredom:
1. Boredom that protects against emotional pain
Traumatic and adverse experiences in childhood, such as growing up in a chaotic environment, do not give a child a sense of security. Its absence triggers conflicting emotions, such as rage and fear. To cope with them alone, the child separates the “bad” feelings from life. Disconnecting from the emotions that spare us pain can also manifest itself in the form of boredom. Boredom in this case is the result of a lack of connection to basic emotions: sadness, anger, fear, disgust, joy, excitement. When we lose access to emotions, we shut off a vital source of energy that helps us feel alive. To heal, we need to reconnect safely through the body to our vast emotional world.
2. Boredom, which serves as a signal that we lack stimulation
In this case, it signals the need to find interest and novelty in life. To overcome it, we need to find the obstacles that prevent us from finding new interests.
3. Boredom that prevents us from realizing our true desires and needs
To think that our desires and needs are unattainable is to feel pain in both mind and body. Boredom allows us to close ourselves off from it, to pretend that we don’t need anything.
4. Boredom as a combination of all of the above
Can also be seen as procrastination or detachment.
How to overcome chronic boredom?
Several methods can be used to overcome chronic boredom:
1. examine your emotions
To get rid of boredom, you need to understand your emotions and learn how to manage them. Try expressing your emotions through creativity or sports. This will help you understand your feelings and learn to manage them.
2. change your routine
If your life has become boring and predictable, try to change your routine. Find new hobbies or activities that can bring newness into your life.
3. see a therapist
If you can’t overcome boredom on your own, see a therapist. He can help you understand the reasons for your boredom and help you learn to manage your emotions.
4. explore new topics
Exploring new topics can help you find new interests and stimulate your activity.
5. Spend time with family and friends
Spend time with your family and friends, socialize, and share your thoughts and feelings. This will help you feel more connected to the world and overcome boredom.
Eva grew up in a chaotic family. As a young girl, when she first met with a psychoanalyst, she didn’t seem to care about anything, ending almost every sentence with “whatever” and rolling her eyes. This form of protection shielded Eva from emotional discomfort. But it also disconnected her from the energy and vitality that living emotion brings.
She suffered from boredom, a feeling she described as “deadness,” which she occasionally silenced with alcohol. In order for Eva to get better, it was necessary to understand the protective purpose of boredom. Dr. Handel used a method whereby the patient was asked to imagine the parts of herself in which the sad beliefs and emotions resided so that the therapist could help her transform.
When a person has healed long-standing traumas and wounds, protections such as boredom are no longer needed.