It's been a cold winter and the flu epidemic is one of the highest in recent history keeping many of us stuck at home or in bed. One of the most wonderful things about snow is how it acts to muffle sound. The noisy world becomes noticeably quiet and crisp. But snow and sick days can lead to boredom.
Neuroscientists have been studying the effects of our noisy distracted culture and found that boredom leads to creativity. As Manoush Zommorodi explained in a recent Nautilus online article, "Boredom is the gateway to mind-wandering, which helps our brains create those new connections that can solve anything from planning dinner to a breakthrough in combating global warming." And as another neuroscientist, Jonathan Smallwood said, " Scientifically, daydreaming is an interesting phenomenon because it speaks to the capacity that people have to create thought in pure ways rather than thought happening when it's a response to events in the outside world."
With brain imaging, neuroscience is now able to see what happens inside our brains when we get bored. Smallwood went on to say, "Smartphones allow us to do all kinds of amazing things like contact people from great distances, but we can get trapped in devoting our entire life to them."
So how do we get past the awkwardness, anger, and even guilt we feel when we're trapped in a long boring line or are sitting in a room full of toys with a 10-month-old baby that has to be watched constantly and we desperately want to pull out our smartphone? We don't. We stop and pay attention to where our mind is taking us and allow it to happen. Maybe it will take us to anything that gets us out of that boring place.
Learn to let it happen and know that those boring places could lead to where brilliant ideas happen. They are the places of the beginnings of imagination and creativity that could bring a life-changing idea or discovery. It might even be a moment when the Creator of the universe speaks something life changing into our soul giving us the answer that could impact the world. Spending time in prayer and Bible reading – quiet time just 4 times a week has statistically been proven to bring positive dramatic changes in lives. But you'll never get there if you don't unplug from your digital devices and let your mind wander.
So if the weather has you down, embrace the boredom but make sure you have a pencil and paper close by to write your world changing ideas down.
Kathleen Cooke's new devotional "Hope 4 Today: Stay Connected to God in a Distracted Culture" encourages readers to engage with God. As co-founder of Cooke Pictures (cookepictures.com) and The Influence Lab, she publishes a monthly newsletter (influencelab.com/women). Find out more at kathleencooke.com, or reach her on Twitter @KathleenRCooke