Have you ever been so bored that you just cannot work? You can’t seem to get anything done, because it’s just so boring that it becomes painful, and it becomes impossible to choose to continue doing the boring work without some kind of stimulation.
And anybody who’s that had any kind of addiction can understand just that feeling of boredom and emptiness, and it’s just unbearable to not be stimulated. […]
We have this need for it.
So to run away from boredom and to avoid this kind of empty feeling, we look for more stimulation.
We look for anything that can give us that hit of excitement.
As we do this more, then we need it even more.
It becomes even harder to get that stimulation.
The feeling without it feels even more empty. […]
So by filling ourselves with stimulation, we are raising the threshold, or raising the baseline of what we consider to be an ordinary level of stimulation.
And yet, if we’re going to do meaningful work, do difficult work, take steps to improve our lives, live better lives, change things, make valuable things, and do good, it seems like there’s no way to do that without going into sometimes being bored, sometimes being very bored.
Being able to do things that are difficult, uncomfortable, unstimulating, unsatisfying in the moment, and they only become satisfying later, a long time later sometimes, after we’re able to make useful work out of them.
But when you’re accustomed to the excitement of a flashing video game or a scrolling social media feed, it’s so difficult to put that aside and really focus on even just doing an hour of work where you get no rewards, there’s no blinking lights telling you you’ve achieved anything, there’s no pinging notification from your friends with some kind of message.
There’s no stimulation.
It’s simply you and your work, and the boredom is unbearable. […]
So I see two ways to adjust the situation.
We can either lower our threshold of stimulation, or we can raise the stimulation level of the “boring” work that we have to do and choose to do.
So our stimulation level, our baseline level, is conditioned in us by everything that we do.
So if we’re accustomed to feeding ourselves with our addiction, with our simulation, then we’re gonna have a high level of baseline stimulation.
So it seems like the only way to bring that down is the painful, uncomfortable, long, boring process of removing the stimulation, stepping away, either reducing or taking breaks from or quitting entirely the things that give us excitement and stimulation without adding any useful benefit to our lives.
Things that keep us excited and happy in the moment – if you can use the word “happy” for some kind of a stimulation; we’re entertained, we’re occupied in the moment, we’re “unbored” for a moment – but things that take away from our ability to actually make better lives.
All these habits that accustom us to the high baseline stimulation.
That’s the slow process of training ourselves off them.
If we do less of them, then we can become used to having a lower level of stimulation as our baseline.
Although it really sucks to lose all that great stimulation that we’re filling our lives with, the trade-off is that we can actually become more capable of doing anything else.
Anything else in the world other than the addiction becomes easier, as we have this lower base stimulation level.
I mean, you just imagine the extreme of it, like being high on drugs while playing an exciting video game and a social media feed buzzing at you, and maybe throw on some TV shows, some videos, you know, full sensory overload, hyperstimulation, coming at you all day.
Imagine then it’s time for you to do some boring work.
It would be so difficult to pull yourself away from that.
But taking away those stimuli one after another, cutting down, if you imagine the opposite extreme: sitting in an empty room, and there’s nothing there – maybe you could have nice sun shining through the window – and just an empty room.
Now, in this completely unstimulating environment, the thought of doing some kind of boring work, it’s a little bit more tolerable. […]
If we can connect the work with something that matters to us, make it feel like doing this so-called boring work is actually part of this great project that we really care about, really want to do, then it’s no longer quite as boring and painful to do, because now it is connected to this game of life, to this thing that we actually want to do.
And then, even if the activity itself is still boring, it is connected to something that we actually care about. […]
We start to be able to do useful things out of that boring work.
And then, almost sneaking in, out of nowhere, it just seems like life starts to get better as we start to build in better things.
#boredom #addictionrecovery #overstimulated