Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Virginia Tech chapter.

 We all need a break during exam week. After working ourselves to death on flashcards or grinding out an essay, we feel a great sense of accomplishment. But in the place of stress- comes boredom. We fill this time by pulling out our phones for some cheap amusement. Screen time after studying may seem like a way to de-stress but it could lead to burnout. Before the scroll-sesh, consider the importance of boredom.

Benefits of boredom

Neuroscientist Alicia Walf, a researcher in the Department of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, emphasizes the importance of “letting yourself be bored from time to time” for brain health. She says it improves social connections. A study from the Academy of Management sought to determine a correlation between boredom and productivity. The experiment had two groups come up with excuses for being late to work. To induce some boredom, one of the groups was instructed to sort a bowl of beans by color. The boredom group performed significantly better during their idea-generating task. They excelled in both the quality and quantity of ideas, as evaluated by objective observers. So why did this happen? What’s so special about boredom? It may seem like a waste of time, but boredom helps the brain recuperate. By allowing it, we’re replenishing our creativity, motivation, and inspiration. 

 What happens when we’re bored?

Dr. Seshadri explains that intense, focused activities like schoolwork require a lot of the brain’s energy. After finishing that five-page essay, the brain returns to its neutral state to restore the expelled energy. This is where we get bored, but our brains are working a lot harder than we think. Several interconnected brain regions activate. They work collectively to consolidate memories and reflect on acquired knowledge and experience. This can be something as simple as thinking about the day, a fond memory, or even an embarrassing moment. Neuroscientists believe that boredom is a form of recovery. Boredom alleviates stress and uncovers what information could be useful to our brains in the future. 

What’s the best way to recharge?

It’s become second nature to reach for our phones at even the slightest sign of boredom. In the bathroom, between sets at the gym, waiting in line, and even during a slow part of a tv show. In an article for Mayo Clinic Health SystemAshok Seshadri, M.D. Psychiatry & Psychology explains that using electronics as a coping mechanism causes problems far worse than boredom. 

Scrolling through Tiktok is easy for us, but much more effort for our brains. Dr. Seshadri asserts that screen time is too mentally stimulating immediately after work. It cuts off our brain’s recovery state by forcing it to interpret more information. Dr. Seshadri recommends balancing studying with rest to “recharge your brain” and creative thinking skills. The brain needs a temporary cutoff from all stimuli for renewal. Like any other muscle- it needs rest.

Embracing Boredom

Dr. Seshadri warns us: “the less people experience boredom, the less equipped the brain is to deal with it.” This is why boredom can be so difficult to endure. By gradually increasing our brain’s downtime, the reflection will become easier and easier. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get bored- who knows what it could help us accomplish.

Allie McBride

Virginia Tech '26

Hi! I'm Allie from northern VA, and I'm an English major. I love baking, playing video games, and talking about the latest TV show I'm obsessed with. I love to dance and I'm always down for some arts and crafts.