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Why are we killing time?


One of the most precious features of our daily lives and yet having too much time on our hands seems to be something we avoid.


There is an apparent paradox in our relationship with time.

killing time

On one hand we talk about “killing time”, doing things to “pass the time” and on the other hand we bemoan our lack of time and want to “make the most of “ it when we have it.


What is going on there?


A fascinating series of experiments was carried out in 2014 in which people were invited to sit in an empty room with nothing to do.  The only form of stimulation was a button they could press which administered a mild electric shock to their ankle.   How many people do you think gave themselves a shock?


In less than 15 minutes almost half of the participants chose to give themselves a shock rather than sit there with nothing to do.  Incredible!


It seems that it’s be part of the human condition that we are so used to being stimulated, distracted and engaged that when we find ourselves with nothing to do we get bored and actively seek out ways to make the passing of time faster and more entertaining.


And yet, when we are busy we wish we had more time and less to do.


We are a bit contrary, aren’t we!


Perhaps next time you find yourself seeking out ways to make time go faster or something to keep yourself from feeling bored, you might like to pause and savour those moments.  Make the most of those moments.  Enjoy the space that having nothing to do creates.  The space to re-charge, re-focus, relax and let the mind settle.


Stop killing the precious moments when you have them, otherwise you’ll continue to crave them when they’re gone.

  1. And what’s more Susan. This week’s Times report showed that even bored dog’s not only suffer pain (as do prisoners) but there brain cells actually begin to die off. Lovely to hear from you and keep in touch especially if you’re over for the festival.

    • Interesting, I didn’t know that dogs have a negative reaction to boredom as well Chris. Thanks for commenting.
      So…..I wonder how we (humans) can shift our experience from feeling “boring” to enriching, contemplative or re-balancing when we are not in the process of doing something? Clearly pain and losing brain cells (if that happens in humans too) is not desirable, so if we can shift our mindset towards experiencing non-doing as a positive experience I wonder what the impact could be?

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