Sunday, February 25

On hacking the boredom code by learning new skills

  • The book “Hack the Boredom Code” by Neera Maini Srivastav focuses on helping the GenY overcome boredom and achieving their potential in a humorous way.

  • The book is divided into 3 sections: Mind, Body, and Spirit, which offers tips /hacks/solutions in each category that seed the respite from boredom in a fun, engaging way. The book is a ready reckoner for young adults to get by their highly stressful daily lives in a more meaningful, healthier and stimulating manner.

  • The book is an innovative answer to all your ‘life’s-so-blah moments’.  Find fun and inspiration, ideas and meaning as you navigate through the ‘boredom’ trail and discover a whole new side to waking up: the sunny one, of course.

  • Read an excerpt from the book below.

7 Ways to Hack the Boredom Code by learning new skills

If you put the same ingredients in a recipe, over and over again, the food will taste the same and lack lustre very soon. Likewise for the mind. How about adding some new skills, new benders, new crafts to that treasure trove called the mind? Dive right in. Here are some ways to keep the mind on a healthy high so that it doesn’t stray into the ‘boredom’ lane.

1. Learn a New Language

It’s not about the fascination of trying to add new sounds and accents to your existing vocabulary. It’s not about flaunting ‘foreign languages’ at social gatherings or even wearing a chip on your shoulder. In today’s interdependent and interconnected world, it is imperative to know languages that will enable you to engage with the world in a deeper and more meaningful way. Plus, you would be every employer’s top preference the day you enter the job market. People who speak more than one language are known to have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills. The bilinguals or multilinguals as they are called can easily switch between competing tasks and monitor changes in their environment more easily than monolinguals, as well as display signs of greater creativity and flexibility. Lastly, it opens a whole new window to so many cultures that otherwise would stay hidden beneath an unknown language! The advantages far outweigh the lethargy! Being able to connect with the world is just the beginning.

2. Unpuzzle: Crossword, Sudoku, Mind-Benders

When the mind is troubled, bend the mind! Or give the mind something to do. Busy the mind so that it does not stray into unwanted territories. An idle mind will always sink into inertia and low moods. One of the fun ways to do that is dive deep into solving a crossword/sudoku puzzle. Did you know that solving crosswords on a regular basis can “improve memory and brain function in older adults.” The moment you challenge yourself with the multiple clues and begin the quest for the right answer, the mind is stimulated. And once that happens, the mind follows its bends and curves and goes full throttle till the answer is found. The journey is not just fun but productive too. Involving yourself in such a brain-consuming activity helps you vastly by improving your verbal and cognitive skills—making you solve problems, and causing you to think deeply. In fact, plenty of researchers have discovered the positive effects that crossword puzzles can have on one’s brain if played regularly. More importantly the mind has some task and forgets to enter the ‘brooding chamber’!

3. Refine a Skill (Ballet, Piano, Baseball, Sewing, Cooking, Painting)

There is no full-stop to knowledge. It is a continuous process without an end. Only because life is ever evolving, every second. So how can we humans halt at any point? So what if you are an accomplished ballet dancer or a pianist or a painter or even a chef! There is always that little extra that can make you shine even brighter. Take stock of any skill you may have and spend some time everyday sharpening that skill even more. If you are a singer, learn another form of music, or sign up for a cookery class that teaches you what you don’t already know. Even an athlete needs to work at his/her skill everyday- to better performance. Haven’t you heard of sports stars who have even signed up for Yoga sessions to hone the muscles of their mind. Likewise, there will always be that extra something that you can add to your own skill. Whatever you do, do it better every day so that you can look back in wonder at your own journey that has been upward bound!

4. Listen to an Audiobook

You are a fortunate generation to be born into the lap of technology. Your first word is perhaps an ‘app’! Most of you belong to the ‘screen’ generation that functions on your fingertips- anything is accessible at the click of a button or a swipe- to be more technologically correct! That opens up a whole new world of access to various kinds of knowledge through various devices. In place of ‘conventional’ reading, you now have ‘audiobooks’ or even podcasts. They say that our brains are actually more likely to create meaningful imagery when we listen to a story — as opposed to when it’s read in a traditional format — because it allows more room for our brain’s visual processes to kick into gear. Try this as an experiment. Choose your favourite genres – from literature and fiction to sci-fi, mysteries and thrillers, technology and even books specifically for teens. It’s a fun way to learn and know the world- It exports you into another world and you find yourself exercising your imagination even more. The voice of the narrator takes you on an excursion- experience the journey that gives your eyes a break, relaxes your mind and sharpens your mental faculties. Plus, the whole feeling of being told a story is an indulgence you wouldn’t want to miss- especially when you are too bored to pick up a tome and make the effort of reading. God bless technology!

5. The Risotto Afternoon

There’s something about awakening the inner chef. There’s a peculiar rush in sourcing and curating special ingredients, looking up the out-of-the-routine recipe and donning the chef’s hat! Choose the Italian risotto or the Lebanese tabouleh or your very Indian dal makhani. The choice of cuisine is less important than the act itself. Once you start the process, your own creative juices will overtake the sauce and before you know it, you could be dishing out a mouth-watering delicacy, after having let yourself go with complete abandon. They say, a kitchen has secret ingredients to form great character!

6. Play a Board Game

The greatest thing about games is that you have a goal— and the goal is to win. That itself is enough to pump you up with energy and enthuse you enough. Pull out the board games, revisit them and get started. All board games require some play of skill—from memory to strategy to agility to calculation etc. Whatever the skill, gather your friends/family and start the tournament! It’s hard not to get infected by the excitement. And while the goal is important, winning is not! It’s just important to move towards an end and enjoy the fun along the way. It brings out your spontaneous self, whether it is crying foul or screaming at a win or giving your partner a thumbs up! The journey also takes you through the joy of victory and also the learning in defeat. Acceptance of defeat is the greatest lesson a game can teach you and also prepare you to hone your skills further for the next round. The ‘self- improvement’ meter is turned on by itself and becomes the stimulator with effortlessness. Apart from the bonding, the games facilitate the relief from boredom. The reason? Because all the senses are so absorbed in the game that there is no space to think negative or feel down. So go on, put on the player ‘hat’ for a bit and enjoy the ride. After all, it’s better than playing with your mind!

7. Stand up! Impromptu!

Often when you are in a tragic or self-piteous moment, it pays to transform yourself into a comedian! And in these days of stand-up heroism, it’s worth giving it a try. Grab your family members or friends—whoever is present in your space and dedicate a few minutes to making them laugh. Dip into your own life, state, mood, the society, politics, environment, anything that you can feel strongly about, go on, tickle that funny bone and give the gift of laughter to someone that is surely worth millions. First, it will stimulate your creativity and second, it will drive you to laugh at your own self—and when that happens, all the emotions that get you down simply dissolve into one big guffaw of laughter.

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