from the world's big
Armed with today's advanced digital tools and itching to express ourselves, "boredom" is bringing out the best in us.
- While staying at home, many are exploring their creative sides to unprecedented levels, sharing their creations with the world in similarly novel, and sometimes collaborative, ways.
- People are finding amazing ways to create and to share from the safety of their homes using apps designed to promote expression and not simply distract users.
- Creative professionals are also stuck at home, facing unemployment, and a lack of access to their usual creative outlets.
The inspiration of boredom<p>Pandemic-related lockdowns and social distancing restrictions have led to millions of people around the world being shut in, isolated and increasingly bored. But might that actually be a good thing?</p><p><a href="https://www.uclan.ac.uk/staff_profiles/sandi_mann.php" target="_blank">Sandi Mann</a>, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire and author of the books "The Upside of Downtime" and "The Science of Boredom," is researching how boredom can be a creative force. </p><p>In fact, being bored during this time is unleashing a veritable global creative renaissance. Of course, for many impacted by the virus, boredom is a luxury. Millions are out of work, including many creative professionals, and others are too busy dealing with working from home or job loss, homeschooling children without an end in sight, or are tragically coping with the virus itself. </p><p>However, for many, boredom has become a common theme in this new normal – and that might not be the worst thing. <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/07/health/boredom-benefits-quarantine-wellness/index.html" target="_blank">Mann advises</a> her audience to "Harness your boredom by getting bored," explaining that when you really let yourself be bored without distraction, you are forced to let your mind wander and find new ways to occupy itself.</p><p>"That means real boredom, which is where you have to let your mind wander," she says. "This is the real key. Daydreaming and mind wandering. Don't turn to the internet or try to scroll your boredom away."</p><p>While scrolling away might not fuel creativity, people are finding amazing ways to create and to share from the safety of their homes using apps designed to promote expression and not simply distract users. In one <a href="https://www.lightricks.com/blog-posts/how-is-covid-19-impacting-creativity-at-home" target="_blank">survey from Lightricks</a>, a software company that specializes in mobile tools for creative expression, over 70 percent of respondents said that using a creativity app helped them overcome anxiety and more than 90 percent responded that they use creativity apps to combat boredom. </p>
What are people doing to get creative under quarantine?<p> Every day people are going deep with amazing art projects and finding ingenious ways to stay occupied. The trend is, in part, inspired by the need to keep kids busy and engaged, but the wave of creativity goes way beyond this motivation. </p><p> Instead of shutting down and switching off, people have become creators of content rather than just passive consumers. </p><ul> <li>Early on in the pandemic, families and friends found ways to keep busy and have fun with creative TikTok dance videos. This trend has only picked up as the months have wore on, with COVID-19 related hashtags like #quarantine and #happyathome connecting users across the globe.</li> </ul><blockquote class="tiktok-embed" cite="https://www.tiktok.com/@tommy_bracco/video/6806044372379929862" data-video-id="6806044372379929862" style="max-width: 605px;min-width: 325px;" id="v64928368834841060"> <iframe name="__tt_embed__v64928368834841060" src="https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/6806044372379929862?lang=en-US" style="width: 100%; height: 897px; display: block; visibility: unset;"></iframe></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://www.tiktok.com/embed.js"></script><ul><li>Pinterest is another tech platform that is helping people get creative at home. With <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/pinterest-accelerates-tech-projects-as-pandemic-boosts-user-engagement-11591194991" target="_blank">searches up 60 percent</a> from this time last year and over 30 million new users joining the platform from January to June, DIY and craft projects are some of the most popular pins.</li><li>With public places becoming breeding grounds for coronavirus infection, classes and clubs for art forms like parkour and capoeira have <a href="https://www.candybar.co/blog/merchant-stories-move-academy-shie-boon/" target="_blank">moved to virtual spaces</a>, with different modes of movement.</li><li>New apps are also offering a digital space to be creative and maintain social networks, support others, and maintain mental health. One such app is Quickart. In a <a href="https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200708005658/en/Lightricks-Launches-%E2%80%9CQuickart%E2%80%9D-Turn-Images-Photos-Digital" target="_blank">press release</a>, the creators of the app explained that the pandemic has "accelerated consumer appetite for powerful, easy-to-use creative tools that empower users to unleash their artistic expression while offering them an escape." With filters like Split Colours (below) and AI-enhanced animation tools, this app is blowing users away and putting the power of advanced editing in the hand of every person – no professional skills required.</li></ul><p> <br> </p><div> </div><blockquote class="tiktok-embed" cite="https://www.tiktok.com/@tommy_bracco/video/6806044372379929862" data-video-id="6806044372379929862" style="max-width: 605px;min-width: 325px;" id="v42403778904227576"> </blockquote><script async="" src="https://www.tiktok.com/embed.js"></script>
@sereiadosuburbio via Instagram<ul><li>In one incredible project, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles tweeted a challenge for people to <a href="https://www.instyle.com/news/getty-museum-art-recreations" target="_blank">recreate famous works of art</a> at home. This unleashed an amazing display of creativity as people everywhere reached for everyday objects to reimagine masterpieces. </li><li>Using an app called <a href="https://mudeo.app/#/" target="_blank">Mudeo</a>, people are recording themselves singing, or playing instruments, and then layering additional tracks on top of themselves to create <a href="https://mudeo.app/song/k8mep9XaMy" target="_blank">rich self-accompanied arrangements</a> on the fly.</li></ul>
Creative professionals are getting in on the fun<p> Creative professionals are also stuck at home, facing unemployment and a lack of access to their usual creative outlets. </p><p> With amazing resilience, this sector is rising to the occasion in amazing ways that, thanks to technology, are inspiring millions of people around the world. </p><ul> <li>Professional musicians and <a href="https://www.pscp.tv/questlove/1lPKqLAVXaMxb" target="_blank">DJs</a> are playing free-access <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidalm/2020/03/31/when-in-quarantine-create/" target="_blank">online concerts and dance parties</a>. Collaborating from their homes in Brooklyn and Paris, for example, one rock school recorded a "family jam" of "With a Little Help From My Friends" by the Beatles, captioned with the words: "Created Under Confinement."</li> </ul><div> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zrP7YqaMry0" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </div><ul> <li>The <a href="https://forgefiction.com/quarantine-fiction/" target="_blank">#QuarantineFiction </a>campaign encourages authors (and aspiring authors) to write and share their stories, whether it's a memoir or a work of fiction. People can even compose together, and the best stories will be compiled in a book and made accessible all over the world.</li> <li>A <a href="https://www.voidprojects.org/#/home-muralfest-1-2020/" target="_blank">home mural festival</a> featuring artists from around the world, giving them the opportunity to come together and find a creative outlet together. One of the artists involved in the mural project, Jacoba Niepoort, told <a href="https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2020/05/home-muralfest/" target="_blank">This Is Colossal</a>: "Being cooped up has presented an opportunity to come together in new ways, both as coordinators and as artists. To share visuals of the space and time we're standing in now, created in solitude, but with the solidarity and simultaneousness being an important value-factor."</li></ul><div></div>
@daviddelamano_ via Instagram<p>Adapting creativity to suit the strange circumstances has born inspiring fruit with many otherwise disconnected aspiring artists finding connection, community and opportunities to create and distribute their work.</p><p>This, in turn, is helping to ease the anxiety, loneliness and boredom of lockdown. Of course, all of this creativity is propelled by the ability to share it with an unlimited audience online. </p>
Locked down and spreading wings<p>In 1665, the Great Plague raged across Europe, and Isaac Newton was sent home from his post at Cambridge. Confined indefinitely to his home, Newton got creative and invented calculus.</p><p>COVID-19 is another pandemic proving the creative force of adversity and boredom to inspire ingenuity and art. With agility and perseverance, people will find new ways to cultivate creativity and express themselves. With fun and jaw-dropping tools available on any phone, people everywhere are using their devices to create content and share it with the world, to inspire and be inspired. </p>
Nutrisystem is a smarter weight-loss program that users enjoy.
- The societal and economic consequences of obesity cannot be ignored.
- The economic impact is up to $190 billion every year in America.
- Americans spend up to $2.5 billion each year on popular weight-loss programs.
Credit: Nutrisystem<h3>The economics of obesity</h3><p>The obesity crisis in America has profoundly changed the health of our nation. Two-thirds of American adults are now <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4770258/" target="_blank">overweight or obese</a>. Excess body weight creates numerous health problems, <a href="https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight" target="_blank">such as</a> increased risk for heart disease, hypertension, cancer, sleep apnea, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Tragically, the steep rise in obesity rates can, in large part, be traced back to the surge in processed foods made with filler ingredients, questionable preservatives, and excessive sugars. </p><p>That's part of what makes losing weight so difficult. Supermarket shelves are stocked with processed foods. A whopping 74 percent of packaged foods contain <a href="https://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.Xx3ly_hKhTY" target="_blank">added sugars</a>, which are conveniently disguised under 61 different names, including dextrose, maltose, and treacle. You shouldn't have to play detective every time you go to the grocery store. </p><p>Obesity has real-world consequences. Every year, up to <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html" target="_blank">$6.38 billion is lost</a> in productivity costs due to obesity-related absenteeism. That number only accounts for people taking off of work. Overall, obesity-related costs in America are estimated to be <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/91/5/1520S/4597467" target="_blank">$147 billion</a> every year. One <a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-consequences/economic/" target="_blank">study</a> shows that cost was $190 billion in 2005. </p><p>Overweight citizens are also <a href="https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/conference-highlights/aaic-2015-coverage/mental-illness-and-obesity/" target="_blank">more likely</a> to suffer from poor mental health. The combination of poor self-image, social stigma, lack of exercise, and biological issues due to obesity increase the likelihood that someone will be anxious or depressed. This creates a crippling feedback loop: diets high in sugars and carbohydrates, which are fueling the rise in obesity, are <a href="https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/your-diet-might-be-causing-anxiety-and-depression" target="_self">also linked</a> to poor mental health. </p><p>Many people want a solution that works. In 2014, Americans spent <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446719/" target="_blank">roughly $2.5 billion</a> on commercial or proprietary weight loss programs. As a society, we pay the price of obesity in the form of work absenteeism, inflated health care costs, and mental health issues, and we pay trying to solve it. Finding a solution to this problem is of utmost importance. </p>
Even non-academic experiences can inspire meaningful moments of learning and self-reflection.
- Jiang Xueqin, an educator and researcher at Harvard Graduate School of Education, endorses learning journals as a good method to promote meta-learning for students during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Learning journals can be kept for any activity and have three components: defining a goal "concretely and precisely," writing down the process, and writing down observations and reflecting on the experience.
- While learning journals are primarily a personal exercise, Xueqin says that teachers can play a crucial role as coaches who motivate the student and find ways for them to improve with new learning strategies.
We're all guilty of it, but there are ways to curb your procrastination and be more productive.
- Most of us feel guilty or lazy when we put things off until a later date or time, but procrastination is normal and happens to everyone. The key is not to eliminate the word from your vocabulary, but to find ways to work and rest smarter so that tasks get done.
- In this video, investor Tim Ferriss, behavioral economist Dan Ariely, health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels, and others share 11 tips for mastering procrastination including focusing on long-term happiness, understanding the differences between inspiration and motivation, trying the Pomodoro technique, and removing the things that are distracting you from the project at hand.
- One interesting tip shared by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg is to build procrastination into your workflow as a reward. "If you need five minutes every hour to look at tweets or to just surf the internet, you need to schedule that into your schedule." According to Duhigg, it's when we try to ignore that urge completely that things fall apart.
Admit it, caring for your pet can make you happy too. Science is working on why.
- A study shows that caring for your pets can improve your well-being.
- The researchers found the act of caring provided more improvements than mere companionship.
- These results aren't limited to pets. Plenty of studies show caring for others can improve your well-being.