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What Boredom Does to You - Issue 53: Monsters - Nautilus

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What Boredom Does to You - Issue 53: Monsters - Nautilus
Every emotion has a purpose-an evolutionary benefit," says Sandi Mann, a psychologist and the author of The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom Is Good. "I wanted to know why we have this emotion of boredom, which seems like such a negative, pointless emotion." That's how Mann got started in her specialty: boredom.

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The Importance Of Boredom

It drives us to engage in activities that we find more meaningful than those at hand. Without it, we’d be perpetually excited by everything.

Research shows that people who are bored...

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Focus And The Brain

Focus And The Brain

When we’re consciously doing things we’re using the “executive attention network, ” the parts of the brain that control and inhibit our attention. The attention network makes it possible for...

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Types Of Daydreaming

Types Of Daydreaming
  • Poor attention control: when people with poor attention control drift into daydreaming. These people are anxious, easily distracted, and have difficulty concentrating, even on their day...

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Daydreaming And Socialization

Daydreaming creates a lot of activity in areas of the brain responsible for autobiographical memory, predicting others’ thoughts and feelings and crafting a coherent sense of self. It plays ...

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The Importance Of Mind-Wandering

When we lose focus on the outside world and drift inward, the brain is putting ideas and events into perspective

When we mind-wander, rather than experiencing, organizing, a...

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Embracing Boredom

Boredom often leads to daydreaming, which is involved in skills like creativity and projecting into the future. But we tend to suppress it.

Letting one’s mind wander really...

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The Dark Side Of Mind Wondering

The Dark Side Of Mind Wondering

When dysphoric mind-wandering becomes chronic or we focus too much on unsolvable problems or past events, it can lead people into unhappiness or destructive and compulsive behaviors.&...

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Positively Using Mind-Wandering And Boredom

  • Instead of dwelling on negative events and thoughts and imagining how things could be different, use positive-constructive mind-wandering, to come up with a way of fixing issues or preventi...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Boredom is not that simple to explain

Boredom is not that simple to explain

We may tend to think of boredom as a response to monotonous activities. But boredom isn't this clearcut.

Research reveals that there's a significant variation in how much bo...

Boredom and modern society

Boredom is sometimes described as the plague of modern society.

  • Back in 2016, a French worker sued his former employer for "bore-out." He won.
  • Many people, especially those born between mid -1990s and late 2010s, scrolls aimlessly through apps and find nothing of interest.
  • People are even diagnosing their pets with boredom.

The struggle to define boredom

Psychologists differ in their definition of boredom.

  • In the 1960s and 1970s, boredom was defined as the feeling generated by a repetitive task. Researchers found that boredom increased alertness to the things happening around you (distractions).
  • From 1986, the opposite was found. A study found that boredom caused less concentration.

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Boredom is unused potential

Boredom is a disconnection to everything we can offer the world and vice versa. It's not influenced by external simulation, it's actually an indicator of how you engage with the world.

Boredom is a social disease

Ages ago, when people were busy trying to survive, boredom wasn’t a choice. They spent all their time securing food or shelter.

We are now overstimulated — easy access to infinite entertainment options is feeding boredom rather than discouraging it.

Embracing busyness to escape boredom

People embrace busyness  because they are having a hard time being alone and enjoying it

Being busy is a tricky form of entertainment however — we don’t feel the boredom, but it isn’t fun either.

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Boredom Sparks Creativity

Boredom is an unsatisfied search for neural stimulation. But, there is scientific evidence that boredom prompts the mind to entertain itself and can enable creativity and problem-solving ...

Boredom Is Good

Daydreaming can be “quite a respite” and provide a brief escape from day-to-day life. But it’s also beneficial to simply step away from distractions, obligations, and stressors long enough to feel bored and let your mind recharge. 

How To Be Bored The Right Way

Don’t conflate boredom with relaxation. A purposefully tranquil activity, such as yoga or meditation, likely doesn’t meet the definition of trying and failing to find stimulation.

To tap into true boredom, unplug, pick an activity that requires little or no concentration and simply let your mind wander, without music or stimulation to guide it.