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“Boredom is not a problem to be solved. It’s the last privilege of a free mind.” Gayatri Devi once said.

Have you ever realised that boredom is a privilege? I once did, but as time passed by I forgot that boredom is a good thing.

When I was a child, I sometimes complained that I was bored. Surely not because I did not have enough toys, but I think because I was lacking creativity or imagination at that point. My mother’s reaction usely was: “That is fine.” Obviously I used to hate it when she said such thing, but now I fully understand what she meant. Because it is fine to be bored.

I think nowadays we do find it difficult to deal with boredom. We get restless, maybe even stressed, and seek for things to stop this restless feeling. There are plenty of things to prevent boredom; phones, computers, television, online games, etc. So it is easy to distract ourselves to avoid this restless feeling.

Meanwhile we tend to complain that “life is too short” and that we wish a day had more than 24 hours. But do we actually sit down at some point during the day and give ourselves a chance to enjoy the silence, enjoy the fact that we don’t have to do anything.. Enjoy boredom?

I think it would be a good idea to be aware of this more often. In the rush of the day we hardly have time to think. When bored, there is nothing else to do than think. Rather than grabbing the phone or tablet, switch on the television or clean the house, just sit down and enjoy the fact that you have nothing to do. Because boredom IS a privilege!

– Esther is an assistant psychologist at Willingness. She works with adults and couples. She has a special interest in mental health. She can be contacted on esther@willingness.com.mt.