You can stop life feeling bored and… blah.
Research has found that living a boring life correlates with a lack of happiness and meaning. This means – the less we experience feelings of happiness and meaning in our day-to-day – the more bored with our lives we may feel.
Let me start by taking you back a couple of years. I used to have a job that was unrewarding with very few enjoyable interactions in the day. And, I would spend all my free time on the couch – watching shows that were rarely enjoyable.
I was living a life that was low on meaning and happiness – it was a boring life.
Now, as someone who dedicated years to a boring life. I know it can be hard to identify when you are living one. You get caught up in the routine (moving between a meaningless job and the couch) – and years can pass quite easily without you realising that things should be better.
If you have found your way to reading this – then chances are something here resonates. And if it does, I want to encourage you to start thinking about making changes.
So, if your life is feeling a bit boring… dull…. or, blah… please read on.
(If in fact, you feel like your life is high on meaning/purpose & low on happiness – then you might prefer to read this article: Living a purposeful life is not quite enough)
What is happiness & meaning?
This is not a straightforward question – but for the sake of this article lets define them as:
- Happiness: the existence of positive affect (and therefore the lack of negative feelings). This could be described as Hedonia (an ancient greek term) – meaning striving for joy, excitement, pleasure, comfort, etc.
- Meaning: feelings of purpose, value and worthwhileness. This could be covered by the term Eudaimonia – meaning striving for purpose and growth.
Both hedonia and eudaimonia have been found as components of life satisfaction.
It should be noted that eudaimonia (or meaning) can ultimately bring happiness into your life as well (often in a healthier and more sustainable way). But, I won’t go on about the benefits here because I covered purpose & meaning in detail in this article: Living a purposeful life is not quite enough.
So, today I am going to focus on the role of happiness (so you don’t have to live a boring life).
Why you need happiness in your boring life
There are a lot of benefits to having happiness in your life (besides the fact that it will make it less boring).
These can be physical, psychological and performance-based, such as:
- Links to reduced experiences of pain, lower rates of heart disease, protection against stoke
- Increased immunity to viruses such as colds
- Links to longevity and long term balance and mobility
- Lower stress levels
- An increased likelihood that you will take care of yourself and
- A predictor to being successful across multiple regions of your life (eg. work and relationships)
Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, proposes that happiness and a positive mindset contributes to an increase in work performance across the board, including productivity, creativity and engagement.
Do these benefits seem worthwhile to you?
Why your loved ones need you – not to live a boring life
Now that I have put the facts before you. Do you want to work on increasing the happiness in your life? There are many reasons to do it for yourself.
But, there is another important reason.
Your happiness has a great effect on the people around you. It only takes a couple of minutes for your mood to be transmitted to another person. In fact, the closer your relationship the easier your mood can be transferred.
So – not only will a negative mood infect your loved ones. On the flip side – if you work on your happiness – not only will your life reap the benefits, the people around you will too, and the people around them, and so on.
You could be the cure to many boring lives.
Stop living a boring life
What makes you happy in your day-to-day life – might not be immediately obvious to you.
To put this another way. What brings you joy and excitement might be obvious. But, if you are like me, you may not realise how much time you spend on activities – that you mistakenly think are bringing you pleasure.
As an example – as a natural couch potato. I assume much pleasure can come from watching TV. However, often, I can find myself in front of the box:
- Just looking for things to watch
- Watching re-runs of shows that aren’t really amusing – or
- Watching shows that make me unhappy or stressed out.
In fact, apparently our enjoyment peaks at about 30mins – then we slowly turn into a joyless potatos. So, in my world – that is many hours spent without pleasure or happiness.
When you think about your days at work:
- How often are you happy?
- Does your work bring you meaning or excitement?
- Do you have exchanges with clients & co-workers that bring you pleasure?
- Do you manage to find enjoyment in breaks?
If you feel like you have a boring life – then maybe not.
So – as a first step towards dialling up the happiness in your life. I encourage you to:
- Identify the activities in your day-to-day that make you happy
- Identify how often you are doing activities that make you happy in your week
- Think about how “happy” you are with this balance.
This will be your (boring life) baseline from which you can build. And obviously, I encourage you to do this.
If not for yourself – do it for me. (Because due to the degrees of separation in the world – eventually, your happiness contagion should make its way to me!)