Boredom is painful.
I’m sure everyone has experienced that before; you forgot to bring your phone out with you or misplaced your headphones and you’re forced to sit in the train quietly, staring into the buzzing people around…
That is one of the reasons why we tend to gravitate towards our phones when we are bored, forever scrolling through feeds.
Anyway, is it only me but do you get the sickly feeling after scrolling through social media just to procrastinate? It feels like the aftertaste of spoilt milk? That mind-numbing activity of filling up the time because we are bored does not bring us any benefit at all let alone improve our social lives. Therefore, I have a hypothesis. We gravitate towards our phones/social media because we are bored and we do so to alleviate the pain that comes with boredom. Scrolling through social media provides us with that small dopamine bursts that make us feel better albeit just a short period of time. However, over time, those dopamine bursts no longer work and we become numb to the effects of social media and so we scroll for far longer just to get that same amount of pleasure and with it the more loss of time.
Because we are bored, many things change in our brain chemistry and going into social media is not making it any better. So the question is, how do we alleviate the boredom without numbing our brains to the pleasure chemical? That is a very good question.
Whatever that comes next comes from a point of self-reflection and evaluation.
I experience that sickly feeling after using social media even now. It becomes a reflex whenever I am bored to click on Instagram and look at what others are doing. However, one day, I realised that social media does not bring me joy anymore and wanting to know about the lives of others does not bring me the same benefit as before. I started to feel disgusted for scrolling through it and falling for the ‘twitch’. So, I listened to some advice on how to stop the ‘twitch’. I changed my screen to grayscale. It worked. I was not interested at all to look at my phone because the colour just puts me off. I started to use my phone less and the already depleted pleasure of using social media falls deeper. Photographs in black and white are not really captivating unless intended for such a purpose. Anyway, there come to a point where I was so put off by the colour scheme that it becomes painful. Why? I guess it was because my brain is trying to put colour into the photographs that it is working twice as hard to analyse what I was looking at. It gets exhausting to look at grayscale after a while so I decided to change it back partly due to that and partly due to the nature of my social life.
Anyway, I took to reading. Reading has always been one of my favourite past time. A good book and some coffee (woah… I really want a gooood cup of coffee right now) always alleviates stress for me. Once I set a goal to read 4 books in a month, which I kind of achieved really made my days more intentional. I didn’t suffer from the ‘twitch’ and my days felt more productive. So, that’s good recommendation I feel.
Also, waking up at 5am every single day is super effective in terms of productivity. I realised that once you get the ball rolling early in the day, you tend to be more productive throughout the day, ticking off checklists hour by hour. It was amazing. (I think I’m going to write a separate post on that).
Regardless, everyone has their own way of filling up their time from reading to sleeping. However, scrolling through social media or the like is something that I would strongly recommend against. It does not bring you benefit nor does it fulfils you.