Boredom: What Is It?

Although boredom is the same emotion used to use, like anger or happiness, it is not widely studied. Perhaps because boredom is less noticeable, and one might assume that scientists are bored of researching it. Nevertheless, like all emotions, we need it for some reason. We figure out what boredom is, how it affects the brain and body and is it really necessary to cope with it.

What is boredom and what is its problem

Some scientists believe that boredom has an evolutionary function – it motivates us to explore our environment. Because if a person stays in one place for a long time, he may, firstly, become more vulnerable to predators, and secondly, miss alternative activities that would bring him more benefit.

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That being said, most people agree that this is a rather unpleasant feeling. In addition to the fact that research has regularly linked high levels of boredom to unhealthy stimulating behaviors such as drug and alcohol use, a lot depends on the type of boredom we are dealing with.

What happens in the brain

First of all, it is not the processes in the brain that are the source of problems, but how we react to boredom. Returning to the types of boredom, if it is relaxed and in some ways even pleasant indifferent boredom, nothing terrible will happen. But if boredom is associated with negativity, it can lead to an increased risk of anxiety and even depression.

In the study of brain responses to boredom, science is still at the beginning, so there is not much research on this subject. But it is already known, for example, that people with damage to the frontal lobe of the brain, along with a tendency to boredom, experience a craving for risky behavior. At the same time, the frontal lobe is associated with a person’s perception of time, which may explain why time passes so slowly when we are “bored and sad, and there is no one to give a hand to.”

What is boredom

Back in the 1930s, psychologists advanced the theory that there are several types of boredom. But it was only in 2006 that this scientist was dealt with when Dr.Thomas Goetz and his team closely tackled the issue and discovered that people really feel bored in very different ways.

Then they got four types of boredom, determined by the level of emotional arousal that a person experiences in the process. With indifferent boredom, a person has a low state of arousal and positive emotions, so that the bored person feels good and relaxed (the situation “I just lie on the couch and do nothing”).

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With calibrating boredom – a little higher arousal and slightly negative emotions, when a person wants to do something but does not yet know what it is. This type of boredom is accompanied by emotional excitement and negative emotions when a person is actively looking for what to do (for example, when self-isolation is boring, you cannot leave the apartment, and all things have long been redone).

And finally, reactive boredom is the most negative of the group, because the bored person, in this case, feels so unhappy that he becomes angry and aggressive and wants to quickly get out of the situation that plunged him into this boredom (for example, leave a boring work meeting that lasts for the third hour), and states at the same time.

And in 2013, another type was added to them – apathetic boredom, which is characterized by a low level of arousal, but a high level of aversion to what is happening. According to scientists, in its manifestation, it is more like depression because a person is extremely unhappy, but at the same time does not want or cannot change anything.

Although sometimes we say that we are “deadly bored,” it is impossible to die of boredom – at least in this causal relationship. But if you keep in mind that people with certain health conditions are more prone to boredom and that boredom itself provokes destructive behavior, then a bored person may indeed be at risk of premature death. Although sometimes we say that we are “deadly bored”, it is impossible to die of boredom – at least in this causal relationship.

Anna Andrukh

Anna Andrukh