How to Overcome Boredom or Agitation with Mindfulness - dummies

How to Overcome Boredom or Agitation with Mindfulness

By Shamash Alidina, Joelle Jane Marshall

Boredom and agitation are connected to energy states. Boredom is associated with low levels of energy and agitation with high levels of energy. Mindfulness is about noticing both. A side-effect of mindfulness can be to cultivate a more balanced energy level within yourself.

One way of dealing with the emotion of boredom is to become curious about it. Consider the following questions when boredom next arises for you when you’re practicing mindfulness meditation.

  • What thought preceded the feeling of boredom?

  • What’s happening to the feeling of boredom from moment to moment?

  • Can you feel it in your body? Where exactly? Does it become more or less intense as you breathe?

  • What do you desire to do instead?

  • What happens when you connect your attention to the sensation of breathing?

  • What happens if you accept the feeling of boredom, just as it is?

  • What happens if you imagine your breath going into and out of the boredom?

  • What happens when you take a step back from the emotion of boredom?

Observing boredom is useful, because when you don’t observe it, it can take over and lead you to stop practicing mindfulness. Just accept that boredom will come and go, and that’s okay. If you focus on getting rid of boredom all the time, that can be counter-productive from a mindfulness standpoint. The key is acceptance and curiosity about the feeling.

Restlessness is excessive trapped energy and an overactive mental state. If you’ve been rushing around on autopilot all day, it is difficult to stop, let go and be mindful. If you can slow down a bit during the day and be mindful from time to time, you’re less likely to feel restless when it’s time for you to meditate.

A way to try and combat restlessness is to begin your meditation with some mindful movement, such as mindful walking or mindful yoga. Gentle exercise helps to slowly calm your mind so that you’re able to practice some sitting or lying down meditations.

Ultimately, whether your restlessness grows or diminishes as you do this practice doesn’t matter. What’s important is your resolve to continue to practice mindfulness despite the feeling. Try to sit and stay put despite what the mind says. All feelings have a beginning and an end. The feeling will pass as long as you can be patient with it.

Persevere and keep curious about your experience, like a scientist doing a new experiment for fun.

If you find yourself feeling bored or restless very often, consider what you eat and how much you exercise too. A balanced diet with plenty of fruit and veg helps you to be more mindful and balances your energy levels.

Try to do some physical activity daily. Even brisk walking for 20 minutes a day or two lots of ten minutes can make a significant positive difference and ease excessive boredom or frustration. Combine the walking with some mindfulness, and that’s even better.