Medical experts call it the ‘disease of our time.’ It’s not just for children anymore. Everyone suffers from it. What used to be something you temporarily went through until your lecture was over or it’s finally your turn at the doctor’s office has now become a disease. That’s how serious it is.
Maybe the main reason why boredom is now a chronic disease is due to the endless array of stimuli that bombard your every waking moment, making it difficult to concentrate on any given topic. We’ve been programmed that we wake up and expect to have information thrown at us, and we know we’re supposed to sit there and take it. We’ve stopped interacting and engaging. Consequently, we get bored.
Boredom is annoying and frustrating. And it may even get to the point when you feel like you’re slowly suffocating. As defined by the German psychologist, Theodor Lipps, boredom “is a feeling of unpleasant arising out of a conflict between a need for intense mental activity and lack of incitement to it, or inability to be incited.”
This can mean different things to different people. An introvert, for example, would find pleasure between the pages of a book or any other type of solitary activity. On the other hand, an extrovert may seek more thrilling activities as well as more social encounters.
But no matter what your personality type is, there’s a direct correlation between boredom and self-awareness. When you have a clear idea of your strengths, weaknesses, motivations and beliefs, and are comfortable in your own skin, you’re better prepared with the tools required to make yourself less bored. You can gauge your moods and feelings, and understand what it is you really want out of life. It also better prepares you to deal with others, and respond accordingly.
But having a clear understanding of your personality can be a real problem in this day and age with the world at our fingertips 24/7. The idea that we turn off the noise for a few seconds to ourselves, to just close our eyes and be at peace, is now a foreign concept.
No one wants to sit there and do nothing! That’s why full grown adults are transfixed on playing games or browsing through their social media every free millisecond. Downtime can be scary.
But it’s in those moments where we really feel our presence, tune in to our thoughts, and get in touch with our feelings. It’s also when we are at our most imaginative and creative. It’s how we evolve, discover and invent.
Suffering from chronic boredom can make it easy to fall into a rut of negative habits, resulting in a powerlessness to finish tasks, puts a damper on the quality of your life, and exacerbates physical pain. It comes with a slew of negative ramifications, the 5 most common are:
If you find yourself constantly snacking even though you’re not hungry, then the culprit is probably boredom. Eating, especially foods high in processed fats and sugars, makes you feel calmer and happier. Dieticians refer to this as emotional eating, which is often brought on by boredom.
Boredom can be a symptom of depression, and it can also trigger it. Working long hours, having a stressful work or home environment, or working dull, unchallenging jobs can all boost stress and result in deep bouts of depression.
Stress and anxiety
Living day to day in an environment that doesn’t give you what need can be emotionally exhausting. Load on top of that work responsibilities and financial strain, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for chronic stress triggered by boredom and redundancy.
Alcohol and drug abuse
In an attempt to break through the boredom spells, it’s common to find people reaching for alcohol and drugs. They’re known for their addictive nature, but in the moment, all people really see is how they allow them to forget the aggravating effects boredom has on their lives.
When boredom strikes regularly, your brain releases toxic hormones into your bloodstream. These hormones create problems for your heart. Moreover, those who suffer from chronic boredom tend to skimp out on exercising and eating right. In fact, they’re more likely to turn to bad habits, like smoking and drinking – all of which can take its toll on the cardiovascular system, resulting in premature death.
A great way to break the boredom cycle is to step back and look at the big picture. Make lists of all the good in your life, as well as all the things you’ve wanted to try but never found the time and start from there.
Take control of your life and try to work your way around the things you cannot change. Form new, healthier habits. Try something different each day. Volunteer your time to helping others who are in need. And, most importantly, find something that piques your interest.