I didn’t check Twitter, or scroll through my Facebook feed. Instead I sat, I watched, I pondered.
When do we ever grant ourselves time to be bored, to do nothing, to just zone out? As a kid, I was always daydreaming and it felt normal to watch the world go by.
Now it seems there’s always something demanding attention. Putting aside real life – work, friends, family, bills – there are endless distractions.
If we’re bored waiting for the bus, we can whip out a tiny computer and access a whole world of entertainment. Waiting for a friend? Check email. In line for a movie? Send a tweet. Whenever there is a spare moment of mental downtime, we quickly fill it with stuff. Noise. Clutter.
What the experts say
In this month’s Australian Women’s Health magazine, cognitive psychologist Dr Lisa Wise is quoted as saying:
“Whenever you have a spare moment, see it as your opportunity to daydream and think your own thoughts.”
She advises staying away from your phone, so you can allow yourself to get bored, which lulls you into a daydream.
But why should we daydream? What’s the point?
According to the experts, daydreaming ignites our imagination and sparks our creativity. This allows us to nut out problems and envisage outcomes. Which I guess is why I always have ‘lightbulb moments’ when I’m zoning out in the shower!
Some of the world’s top thinkers have attributed their success to daydreaming. Steve Jobs liked to meditate in an apple orchid, where he says some of his brightest ideas were born. Get me to an apple orchid!
To be honest, I don’t think it’s easy switching off. I feel the need to always be online, connecting and contributing. But I suppose sometimes I need to step back, disconnect and tune in to the real world. The wider world. Not the world wide web!
So with that in mind, I’m going to stare at the clouds some more…
Do you give yourself time to daydream?