Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fitting my way to Boredom and Back

I know that boredom was the chief reason I've quit fitness and weight loss programs in the past. So I thought I'd dig deeper in to the texture, shape and meaning of my boredom. The other day I found a great video clip that sums up contemporary thinking:

Why do we get bored? By vsauce

The clip inspired me to check out my own boredom level on the BPS scale. It turns out I'm the Rock of Gilbratar, unshakeable, and not prone to boredom at all! I think I am six percent on the boredom scale. Reflecting on the various examples provided in the quiz, I must be darned good at managing boring situations. For example, I figure it is my responsibility to enjoy my work, so I manage it so those moments of flow and enthusiasm happens. I have hobbies. I paint. I knit. I write. I am well-supplied with books. I play my games on my iPhone. If I know I will spend time in a waiting room, a queue, or other situations I am powerless other to sit still, I bring along plenty of things to do.

This time I have adopted similar strategies to push through the grinding boredom of machine exercise, and diarizing all my food (130 days and counting). This time I filled the gaps with apps like myfitnesspal. This little app frees me from manually calculating, providing me with totals, tracking, and graphs effortlessly. To fight boredom on the treadmill, I purchased the accessory and downloaded related apps of Blue Goji. These games only move when I do, and the harder I push, the better my score.

Given my intolerance of boredom and the many ways I avoid it I doubt my problem is low dopamine levels.

If diet and exercise bores me, it is because it is interminable. There is no guarantee, if I stick to the plan, that I would eventually hit that ideal in fitness and trim. I am prometheus, tortured by the capricious gods to have my liver eaten and regenerated forever. I also bore from these activities, as they do not engage my mind. I have received high reward for thinking, so I naturally gravitate to thinking activities to make me feel better. As fine as the endorphin high is, it does not engage my mind. Where is the exquisite pleasure of working out a problem, or crafting words to move people?

The solution seems obvious. I use my creativity to engage in exercises that use both mind and body. Onward I go!

A book to read, Boredom: A Lively History by Peter Toohey.