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What the mysterious boredom divide teaches us

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https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200720-what-the-mysterious-boredom-divide-teaches-us

bbc.com

What the mysterious boredom divide teaches us
Some people are a lot more susceptible to boredom. And from 'covert narcissism' to low self-control, the reasons why can teach us about the origins of this mysterious emotion.

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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...

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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, espec...

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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 tha...

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Five types of boredom

Psychologists now know there are at least five types of boredom.

  • Calibrating boredom: You have wandering thoughts and a feeling of not knowing what to do.
  • ...

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What the boredom signal is telling you

The boredom signal is telling you that you are failing to interact with the world. The negative emotion is trying to motivate you. We really want to be cognitively engaged.

...

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Dull downsides of boredom

  • Bored people are more susceptible to impulsive behaviour, substance abuse, gambling addiction, compulsive mobile phone use, depression, etc.
  • Boredom also ...

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The Importance Of Boredom

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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 us to relate directly to the world presently around us.

By contrast, when our minds wander, we activate the brain’s “default mode network, ” which is the brain “at rest”; not focused on an external, goal-oriented task. In this mode, we still tap about 95% of the energy we use when our brains are engaged in focused thinking. 

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 daydreams.
  • Guilty-dysphoric: when our thoughts drift to unproductive and negative places. We berate ourselves for perceived mistakes or flaws and feel emotions like guilt, anxiety, and anger.
  • Positive-constructive: when our thoughts veer toward the imaginative; it reflects our drive to explore ideas and feelings, plan, and problem-solve. 

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Go With The ‘Flow’

Go With The ‘Flow’

Flow is the satisfying feeling of absorption we get when we’re wholly focused on an enjoyable, open-ended activity, of which we are in control but which stretches our abilities...

Better Employing Idle Time

  • Revisit past experiences, enjoy or reevaluate them.
  • Rethink future plans.
  • Be fully present in the moment.
  • Look around and notice new details to better familiarize yourself with your environment and increase your sense of belonging.
  • Challenge yourself to be still and see it as a form of adventurous living
  • Do things light on engagement to help the mind to disengage from purposeful thought and wander.

Embrace Idleness

While boredom signifies a lack of stimulus, pauses in engagement can be of great value. Being able to appreciate this means you won’t get bored and will be able to find things of interest to think or find contentment in simply being.

Instead of trying to monetize or avoid idle time, use it to develop inner resources, such as curiosity, playfulness, imagination, perseverance and agency. From that all sorts of fulfilling activities can emerge.

Apathetic Boredom

Unpleasant, but causes low levels of arousal and a lack of positive or negative feelings–in other words, a feeling of helplessness or depression.

It’s a common kind of boredom, ...

Reactant Boredom

The highest levels of arousal and negative emotions. It reflects significant restlessness and aggression.

A person in a reactant boredom state has persistent thoughts about specific, “more highly valued alternative situations”, a strong motivation to escape their boring situation and those responsible for it. 

Searching Boredom

A more negative feeling reflecting a sense of unpleasant restlessness and an active search for ways out of the boredom mindset. A person might think about alternative activities, hobbies, leisure, or work.

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Shyness

Shyness

If the idea of mingling at a party or giving a presentation in front of people make you feel sick, you are not alone.

About 30% of shyness is because of genetics. The rest comes abo...

Shyness: Genes and environment

The environment has a large effect on personality and mental health. However, genetics may drive us to extract aspects of the environment that match our actual predispositions.

Genes and the environment work together as a dynamic system. Because of that, you can always change it through psychological therapies that can teach you techniques to cope.

Shyness is not bad

Shyness in itself is quite common and normal, but it can become a problem if it develops into social anxiety where you avoid things that need to be done. You might not be able to talk to people at work or have difficulties socializing.

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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.

Boredom sparks creativity

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Boredom is one of the most important factors in creativity. Boredom is a productive state as long as you don't let it get to you.

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Our mind when we're bored

When we're bored, two key things are happening in our minds: One is a 'desire bind' where someone wants to do something but not anything that's on offer. The other is when your mind is itching to be engaged.

Don't fill the void

Our first instinct when we experience some boredom is to fill it with Netflix lists, Instagram feeds, and TikTok videos. Riding out this boredom is vital though.

Boredom is not in itself creative. It's what it leads to that is significant. In the gap of boredom, you're motivated to look for something else, and there's a real chance you'll discover something new.

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Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy Theories

In the earlier times, conspiracy theories were a convenient way to cover up the inadequacies of the government, and putting a set of helpless people as a scapegoat, cloaking the misdeeds or mismana...

We Love A Good Story

The organic and unpredictable nature of conspiracy theories had led many researchers to investigate the cause of the phenomenon.

  • Successful conspiracy theories always tend to invent a great villain, have a backdrop or a backstory, and a morality lesson that can be easily understood by most.
  • Great stories are by nature more magnetic and appealing than the truth.
  • Human beings think and understand in stories. For thousands of years, fairy tales, legends, anecdotes and mysteries have helped our brains make sense of the world.

Collective Hysteria

Every society has its own, unique anxieties and obsessions, and the conspiracy theories that gain good mileage are the ones that tap into these primal fears.

Example: Many people fear vaccination of the children due to fears that the mass drive to vaccinate such a large population has some ulterior motive, like a mass medical experiment. The dodgy past record of the health care system, and the fact that the vaccination is free of charge, of course, adds fuel to the fire.

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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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The Time Domain

Time measurement seems so crucial that athletes forget what to do without any measurement of time.

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Disrupted

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To Each His Own

Every race is a search for your individual limits. In an interval workout, the coach tells you exactly how many repetitions to do, and then you stop. The limit is imposed externally. 

For athletes to run to their maximum potential in races, they are the ones that should decide how many repetitions they needed to do in order to reach exhaustion.

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Choose your field of activity wisely

Nowadays people are mostly driven by the idea of making a lot of money in as short of time as possible.

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There is no such thing as the key to success.

However, being ambitious, lucky and persistent can really work. While nothing guarantees success, finding what you like and trying to become good at it are definitely important steps in that direction.

Focus on your own goals

There is a certain temptation we all feel when it comes to other people's success: check out exactly how they made it u to this level.

Nevertheless, this is not really the appropriate approach, as each individual has its own path in life: so better focus on your goal and how you plan to achieve it.