There is a surprising link between boredom and anxiety. These two opposite feelings have one thing in common. Well, what do boredom and anxiety have in common?
It seems like from one side you have stress and the anxieties of everyday life and from the other side, you have boredom. Of course, there are many other healthy alternatives but most are somewhere between those two options. What is interesting is that subconsciously we would rather choose anxiety and stress over boredom. So, what is the link between anxiety and boredom? Let’s start with boredom which is not necessarily a bad thing although very much perceived as laziness or even linked to depression.
Boredom is a way to tell our inner selves that we lack purpose in life and at that moment, we can seriously start craving that purpose which is a good start.
When we are anxious it seems like we have no time to feel bored. Also, when anxious we feel like we are running away from boredom, meaning, we are running away from a meaningful life.
Yes, on the surface, it seems that boredom and anxiety have nothing in common. Boredom is a form of disengagement, followed by lack of arousal while anxiety is more about alertness and monitoring for any potential failure, danger or threat. The first common trait between these two feelings is that both are very much uncomfortable states for us.
However, somehow for many, anxiety is a more comfortable feeling than boredom. People will do anything to escape boredom, many would rather feel discomfort and even pain rather than nothing at all. We take our phone, spend hours on our phones to kill time, to do something, anything just to avoid boredom. Smartphones are our main tools which will easily distract us from the feeling of boredom. While we are trying to stay occupied by spending our time meaninglessly, once again we find ourselves in a vicious circle of not facing the boredom and the truth that we do need to find purpose.
In the best case scenario, running away from boredom leads to socially acceptable addictions such as spending too much time online and compulsive shopping.
From the other side, if you fully embrace your boredom as a motivating force, you can start spending more time on finding the purpose of your life and doing the creative and meaningful things you’ve been putting on hold for a while. Living a life without meaning can easily lead to anxieties, depression, and aggression.
In a great way, anxieties are a product of a meaningless life and boredom is just a reminder of it and we are trying to escape, trying to forget that we still haven’t found the meaning of life. Although many would choose anxiety over boredom, we should rather choose boredom over anxiety. Boredom might give us again that anxious feeling that we must run away from the inconvenient truth that our life doesn’t have a meaning, but once we get comfortable with boredom, we will be ready to search for a meaning, to do things that we have been delaying for a while, to find time to be creative and to find out what is our purpose?
The surprising link between boredom and anxiety is the lack of purpose. While we are anxiously going through our phones while waiting in a line in Starbucks, while contacting our friends on the phone to see what are their plans for tonight, anxiously waiting for a reply, we are in a great way running from ourselves, running from boredom and running away from finding a purpose and meaning of life.