Drew Barontini

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My kids don’t understand boredom. Their time is filled with nonstop activities and screens. But boredom is valuable—it’s a skill to cultivate. I’m teaching them this concept because they need to both understand and appreciate it. Easier said than done, I know!

When I discussed this with a coworker, they commented that boredom is useful for kids. I believe it’s beneficial for adults, too. Boredom is a lost art and a powerful tool for personal growth and mental well-being.

Our brains continually absorb information—articles, books, podcasts, music, movies, TV shows, emails, and texts. This constant intake can lead to overload. When overloaded, our brains struggle to find the signal through the noise, causing energy depletion and information loss.

Think of your brain as a garden: over time, it accumulates weeds (useless information). If we’re always planting new seeds (consuming new information), we don’t give the garden a chance to be weeded and pruned. Boredom is like taking a break from planting to clear out the weeds, prune the plants, and let the garden breathe and flourish.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Boredom activates the brain’s “default mode network”, which consolidates memories, reflects on lessons learned, and restores cognitive resources depleted by intense focus.” Your brain, quite literally, is working when you’re bored.

Resist the urge to grab your phone or check your email. Take a break so your brain can work—to organize and process information. Appreciate the moment. Embrace boredom.

When you find yourself with nothing to do, take pleasure in it.