How the boredom of lockdown could lead to the most creative period of all time
Preston-based academic Dr Sandi Mann reckons being confined to home has helped us exercise our brains in a new and creative way.
Dr Mann is senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire and an acclaimed author.
She has been researching boredom for more than 15 years and wrote The Science of Boredom.
With a central thesis that there are real benefits to boredom, particularly in terms of increasing creativity, Dr Mann has conducted several isolation studies to examine the effects of boredom on those with no sensory stimulation.
She reckons it is good to be bored, we should embrace it and use it positively. Here she provides and insight into her research.
What happens to our brains when we are bored?
We get bored when our brains’ search for neural stimulation is not met. If they cannot find stimulation within our environment, our brains will attempt to find it internally by mind-wandering and daydreaming.
Both of these processes are great for creativity. In fact, boredom is an incredibly creative force and, as my research shows, doing nothing can deliver impressive benefits. You start thinking in new, productive ways and come up with your own solutions to problems.
If you can overcome the initial, painful period of boredom, you could unlock creativity that you didn’t realise you had.
How is the boredom of lockdown accelerating our creativity?
The boredom of lockdown could be a catalyst for the most creative period in the history of mankind.
We are already witnessing a surge in creativity that has never been seen before in such a short period. With the lockdown forcing so many people to allow boredom into their lives, society could reap the benefits with a wave of new creative solutions and entrepreneurship.
With so many people forced to take a temporary break from work, this could be an opportunity to develop our creativity in a way that has previously been stifled by our always-on culture. Right now, the world is in a large-scale scientific experiment and, despite the anxiety and distress of lockdown, it’s possible that the next best-selling book or revolutionary business idea may yet emerge from this period.
How can people harness boredom to unlock their creative potential?
Before lockdown, it’s possible that we didn’t have enough opportunities to be bored in our busy lives. Under lockdown, we are experiencing too much boredom, but we can still harness that boredom to generate creative solutions.
Letting your mind wander and daydream without the distractions of music or technology can be a really useful way to allow your mind to unwind, alleviate stress and solve problems, boosting your productivity and creativity in the process.
It’s good to be bored, so we should take this unusual opportunity to embrace it and capitalise on its potential. Those that do so could be the undiscovered genius behind the next big book, film or artistic masterpiece.
Let us know how creative you have been in lockdown at [email protected] or @leponline