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Why boredom can be good for you

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http://theconversation.com/why-boredom-can-be-good-for-you-90429

theconversation.com

Why boredom can be good for you
Being trapped in a tedious job, with no possibility of escape, is a recipe for real boredom. This kind of boredom is unpleasant and definitely bad for us. But a flurry of recent media interest on the subject of boredom suggests that it is a frequent experience that really bothers people and is not limited to the workplace.

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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...

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Better Employing Idle Time

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 you...

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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 inte...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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.

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...

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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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 stress of commuting

The stress of commuting

The journey to work is often more stressful than the work itself. Surveys and studies have found that commuting is people’s least favorite activity. But now, with many of us at home and commutes on...

Transitional buffer

A new study examines the function of the commute as a psychological gateway between home and work.

The daily commute serves as a "role-clarifying prospection" - it gives you the time and space to think about the upcoming work role.

Commuting creates opportunities

Commuting allows employees to engage in some degree of prospection about work. Perhaps the commute also offers an opportunity to engage in deeper levels of creativity.

  • Globally, the average commuting time is 38 minutes each way. That adds up to a lot of time, which may offer a chance to read, listen to a podcast, audiobooks, or playing Scrabble.
  • It also allows time for boredom where the mind can wander, which can produce original thoughts and also problem-solving.
  • During the evening commute, one has time for reflection after the working day is done.

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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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Boredom

It's the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest. Boredom is rooted in the urge for meaningful activity or engagement that finds no satisfying avenues of express...

Boredom And Daydreaming

Where boredom is passive, daydreaming can be an active experience. Allowing ourselves to notice, and to be open to our surroundings, is a way of awakening our curiosity for the world outside ourselves. 

Also, boredom is an aversive emotion linked to disgust, whereas lots of people like to daydream.

Daydreaming And Creativity

We should give ourselves the space to daydream. After all, insight comes unannounced and such small epiphanies can constitute clues to our particular predisposition and personalities.

There are strong links between daydreaming and problem-solving and creativity. Neuroscientists have found that during periods of idle daydreaming or sleep, the brain goes into problem-solving mode. 

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All areas of your life are affected

When your job is affecting your mental and emotional health, so that anger and depression overwhelm you or bleed over into other areas of your life, it’s time to consider a change.

A toxic workplace

It can have a negative impact on your happiness and job performance.

Studies found that ostracism, bad leadership, harassment, and bullying have direct negative effects on job productivity. Also, being in a job you hate is worse for your health than being unemployed.

Not aligned with your values

If your job is not aligned with your values, you'll end up questioning the possibility of doing it for the next 15, 20, or 30 years.

The good part about it is the fact that this will point you in the right direction, where changes need to be made.

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Taking good breaks

This is important for your daily productivity. Good breaks can leave us feeling refreshed and energized. It can reduce mental fatigue, boost brain function and keep us on-task for extended periods....

The brain and goal management

The prefrontal cortex of the brain is mainly responsible for goal management. It orchestrates attention, working memory and other cognitive resources to help us get what we want.

For a challenging task, briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation. Doing activities that rely on different brain regions is best to restore focus.

Going Natural

Exposure to nature restores the mind. One study showed better working memory scores for people after a walk in a natural environment, but not in an urban setting.

If you are unable to go into nature, find plants, fresh air or a fish tank. Sit down, take a deep breath, and notice the details of nature. Research shows that even looking at some pictures of nature can work.

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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...

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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Sympathy and Empathy

Sympathy and Empathy

Video games had a reputation of being emotionally numbing and brain rotting, but this recent trend towards narrative-centric gaming is now developing a player’s sense of sympathy and empathy...

Mental and Creative Prowess

There are games designed to train and improve brain functionality, logical deduction, pattern recognition, memory, matching, and outside the box thinking.

The interactivity of games is one way to exercise your mind while having fun. That’s important because, like muscles, the brain will atrophy if you don’t work it. 

Leadership and Socialization

It’s possible that gaming enables stereotypically introspective individuals to be more social, ultimately improving social skills.

In the earliest consoles, gaming with friends involved a physical gathering in front of a single TV. Even in today’s online multiplayers, gamers often form groups, communicate over voice and video chat, and can even help train leaders in the case of those who manage the groups. 

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