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Study: The Key to Unlocking Your Creativity is a Social Media Fast

Study: The Key to Unlocking Your Creativity is a Social Media Fast

Millions turn to social media or binge-watching shows (or both) to “cure” their boredom, but a new study found that being bored is actually be a good for you.

While its understandable to want to stay entertained and occupied, research suggests that taking time to be bored can be a critical part of improving our mental health. When we fill our day with doomscrolling social media or binge-watching shows, we close our minds off from creative thinking and exploring new activities.

“This research has given us a window to understand how the ‘always-on’, 24/7 culture and devices that promise an abundance of information and entertainment may be fixing our superficial boredom but are actually preventing us from finding more meaningful things,” said Dr. Timothy Hill, co-author of the study, in a university release.

“Those who engage in ‘digital detoxes’ may well be on the right path,” Hill continued. “The problem we observed was that social media can alleviate superficial boredom but that distraction sucks up time and energy, and may prevent people progressing to a state of profound boredom, where they might discover new passions.”

Hill and his co-authors pointed to the pandemic as an example of creativity flourishing. Stuck at home with no where to go, millions of people turned to new hobbies and discovered passions in their boredom. Instead of passing the time scrolling through their phones or their Netflix queue, people allowed themselves to explore myriad creative opportunities.

The study, conducted by the University of Bath School of Management and Trinity College in Dublin, determined there are two levels of boredom: superficial and profound. Superficial boredom is the most common variety, and can be described as a feeling of restlessness. We often seek temporary distractions from everyday life in these moments, such as scrolling through social media on our phones.

Profound boredom, however, is a much deeper experience. It comes from an abundance of uninterrupted time spent in relative solitude, and can cause us to question our sense of self and our existence. Though it may not sound particularly pleasant, it has the potential to lead to more creative thinking and activity

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