A guide book for GenY on how to overcome boredom, achieve their full potential
Author, screenwriter, educator and mindfulness coach, Neera Maini Srivastava has come out with her sixth book, Hack The Boredom Code that focuses on helping the GenY overcoming boredom and achieving their potential in a humorous way. Following is an excerpt from the chapter Spirit (page 86-91):
We’ve all heard about the power of nature in rejuvenating us and freeing us from the shackles of boredom. With our current lifestyles of being ‘plugged in’ endlessly on our devices, there is an even greater need to commune with nature. And bring back some pixie dust in our lives! Try one of these and you may just be foot-tapping your way to a funner life.
So what exactly is this word ‘gratitude’? The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). The dictionary says that it is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. But what does the heart say? And why is such a big deal made out of this word? Research says, feeling thankful actually leads to greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. Not the kind that is taught in ‘moral science’ in schools but a deep attitude of appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. It is a way to acknowledge the goodness in your lives. Try this simple exercise: Get hold of a small book or journal and engrave the words ‘GRATITUDE JOURNAL’ on it.
Every day as you call it a night, spend a few minutes to list all the things, people, pets, places, experiences that you are grateful for. It could be as simple as the yummy breakfast your mom just served you that morning. And here’s the twist: also be grateful for all the ‘not so great things’ that happened during the day- the misses, the lows, the disappointments! Why you may wonder- because it is a way to acknowledge the universe and its wisdom, knowing that it has your best in store. As you go through this ritual every day, you will begin to feel happy for no reason and start receiving more from life. It is simply magical. As a result of the exercise, you will realise that it helps you connect to something larger than yourself—whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. And you may find yourself saying ‘Thank God, I am not bored anymore!’
Forget yourself for a Day
A large part of the reason why we are down in the dumps so often is a constant focus on the ‘self’… Sounds like a paradox but it is true—an overdose of being self-obsessed leads to greater discontent with the whole world—from family to friends and just about everything. Because your energy is only on ‘getting’, there is a constant flow of ‘the not so great happenings of your life’. But the moment you shift the focus, things change dramatically. Try it for a day. Just forget that you even exist on this planet. Forget your body, your mind, your emotions, dreams, desires and peg your focus on someone or something outside yourself—Could be a family member, a friend, a hobby, even your own room. Go through the day staying engaged with that thought and turn the direction of your activities towards that. All senses on just that. Say, if it is your sibling, then put your mind to everything that makes up his/her world. Interact with your sibling, engage in some activity together, could be helping them out with some task. Towards the end of the day, check in on how you are feeling. Chances are that you would have even forgotten your blues—simply because your forgot yourself!
Make Someone Happy
True, we are all seeking to find happiness. It is almost everyone’s single-minded goal. Imagine what a beautiful world this would be if we ensured that we make at least one person happy every day. It means just bringing a smile to one person’s face with a kind gesture. They say kindness is more attractive than good looks. You can almost frame these words of wisdom. For starters, shed off all your inhibitions. Go on, make that eye contact with strangers and simply say a ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’, call a friend for no reason, help an older person to cross the street, smile at a traffic cop or just a simple ‘thank you’ to the security guard manning your college or residence, or play the clown for someone sick and ailing—the options are endless. Every smile that you create for someone eliminates the traces of boredom – you will suddenly feel lighter as you watch a face beaming with a smile—the smile you had a big part to play in. You will soon get addicted to this as you start to feel the release of the ‘happy hormone’ spread through your insides. It certainly would be a goodbye to boredom. A happy goodbye.
If there was a rulebook for life, rule no. 1 would be ‘Add a plus in someone’s life’. Or simply put, don the role of ‘serving’. It could be anyone—from your professor to your parents, siblings, friends; almost any human on this planet. The act of serving can take many forms. Simply make that decision and you will be surprised at how many opportunities your day will spring up to make that come true. You could start by serving your parents or grandparents a cup of piping hot tea or coffee without them asking you to! And then take that ‘service’ mind-set along with you as you go through your day. You could volunteer your time and serve at a home for the aged or an orphanage by offering your time to talk with the elderly or play with the kids in the neighbourhood. Today, look up the social media and you will find many non-profit start-ups struggling for finance. They all have some lofty goal or purpose from caring for stray pets to planting trees or running public libraries. How about serving them through a small donation. You could just pick up some food and feed the hungry on the street. Whatever you choose, know that the core of ‘serving’ is about being useful. And you don’t need to save the world to be useful. Take a small step and you would have made a difference—not just to the world but to your mood as well!
Pray for Someone
Prayer is a kind of dialogue—a conversation with a higher power beyond the obvious. It really doesn’t matter what the content of prayer is but it is an act of service, of reaching out to something bigger than ourselves. It expands your whole being. It’s common for us all to pray when our need is dire or when you are really pushed to a corner. Now try to switch this ritual by simply changing who you are paying for. Think of someone in your immediate vicinity who is in need of prayers. From family to friends to even strangers. If you can’t think of anyone, then think of all those out there in the world going through some challenge or the other. Think of the needy, the starving, the ones ravaged by war and poverty. Then make that sincere effort to offer your prayers for the fulfilment of that person’s wish or desire, whatever that may be. Prayer takes on a different dimension when the prayer is for someone else. Add mantras, your own words, sing them, say them out aloud, or in your mind, in your own private space. The process is so intense that it not only relieves you of your own blues but also sends trickles of good vibes out there – to whoever needs it. Chances are, the trickles will travel back and give you a kick! Forget the boredom, just join your hands and have a tête-à-tête with the one and only.