We Need More Boredom


Running is the opportunity to be uninterrupted, nobody else’s thoughts or words invade. It is an assured space away from a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be unreachable. More than any­thing, how­ever, run­ning pro­vides san­ity; a time in every day that brings focus and time to make mental progress and sort out issues. But some aspects of running are so difficult. Marathon training is tough and time consuming. The Sunday session is typically an early morning run I do and it’s usually the longest. From the minute I wake I think of excuses and reasons not to go. Just stay in bed and do it later. Roll over, the bed is cosy, its warm and I’ve found the perfect spot.  But I’m up; and I’ve convinced myself to get out of bed because the Sunday morning long run is the cornerstone of most marathon training plans and like any foundation, it is the reference point for all of the other runs during the training for a marathon. But it’s so boring! Even when running in a group, the weekly long run is a monotonous affair because after fourteen or fifteen miles there’s very little chat. Non Runners sometimes dismiss running as a tedious, dreary pursuit. But in a world in which we’re all so busy and have so many distractions around us, it’s often rare that we actually get bored anymore. Digital technologies have enabled constant engagement, robbed us of our opportunities to be bored. we need more boredomBut rather than being avoided, boredom should be embraced because our brains thrive on it. It can benefit our thoughts and lives. So-called “boring” activities, like running long distances, can lead to more creativity, because it is in this dull fuzziness of frustration   where the mind doesn’t simply consume but it creates  (Elpidorou, 2014; Mann & Cadman, 2014). Boredom leads to awareness, it allows the brain time to explore different ideas, thoughts or things to do. I’ve realised that this moment of disengagement and despair is the time the brain lights up. Creativity is always associated with moments of inspiration. It is in this alone boring time that the most productive thinking is done, thoughts about nothing in particular, but the mind naturally finds topics to focus on. It is usually things that have been avoided all week. Life changing decisions are made, new businesses born and families planned whilst running. So embrace monotony and let boredom reign a little more often. Hang up and log off and go for a run, because merely having a problem to be solved doesn’t provoke inspiration. It’s far more likely for solutions to be found in times of boredom, because being bored is what motivates you to take something apart just to see what’s inside, even if you may not get it back together.

 

References

Elpidorou A. (2014). The bright side of boredom. Front Psychol 5, 1245.

 

Mann S & Cadman R. (2014). Does Being Bored Make Us More Creative? Creativity Research Journal 26, 165-173.

 

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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