Is Boredom Good For You?



Boredom is an unpleasant feeling that we usually try to avoid at all costs. No one likes to be bored.

For some students, boredom can peak right about now - during their summer vacation. No school means a decline in extracurricular activities and less social time with friends at school.

[Related: 5 Kid Friendly Sites for Bored Children]

In the past, boredom had not received a lot of attention from the scientific community. But recent studies have found that it could be directly connected to your health.

So is being bored good or bad for you? We’ll answer that question in this Just Explain It, and provide some tips on how to beat boredom.

First, what exactly is boredom?

According to Dr. John Eastwood, a clinical psychologist at York University in Ontario, Canada, boredom sets in when our ability to pay attention fails. I know, it sounds pretty obvious. But it may be the result of a combination of factors.

1.    The situation itself may not be stimulating.
2.    A predisposition to boredom.
3.    An underlying mental condition.

Now, we all experience boredom at some point. Most of us have varying thresholds though.

Men and boys are more likely to complain of boredom than women and girls, as are people who fit the profile of “sensation-seekers.” And studies also show that boredom peaks during our teenage years. That’s due in part to a combination of maturity level, and as minors they have less control over daily decisions.

Studies have found that easily bored people could be at greater risk for depression, gambling addictions, eating disorders and unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking.

Researchers at University College London, in London, England, have found that easily bored people are twice as likely to die from heart disease or a stroke than people who are not.

On the flip side, philosophers and writers frequently discuss the connection between boredom and creativity. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Boredom is not an end-product, is comparatively rather an early stage in life and art. You’ve got to go by or past or through boredom, as through a filter, before the clear product emerges.”

It’s been said that inventor Frederick Creed, out of boredom, created the high-speed automatic telegraph in the late 1800s. The communications breakthrough transmitted an astonishing 200 words per minute.

While there may be a silver lining, at its worst, boredom can be harmful to your health. So when boredom has you in its grip, your response could be a life-saver.

Studies show engaging your brain is your best defense.

Here are some tips.

Do something different…like a new hobby.

Set goals…they help you stay focused.

Exercise often…it enhances your thought process.

So tell us – what bores you? And what do you do to get out of boredom’s rut? Let us know what you think. Give us your feedback in the comments below or on Twitter using #JustExplainItNews.

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