Resisting Boredom

Resisting Boredom

In a 2014 study called 'The challenges of the disengaged mind ', participants were placed in a room alone, for up to 15 minutes, with nothing to do but think. They also had the choice to give themselves an electric shock by pushing a button placed next to them.

Even though there was absolutely no pressure on the participants to shock themselves (and many of them said they'd pay money to avoid the shock beforehand), 25% of women and 67% of men still chose to push the button.

Put simply - people would rather experience physical pain than be bored.

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The Hidden Power of Boredom

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4. Boredom exposes to novelty

Finally, boredom is what gives us a taste for adventure and encourages us to seek out novelty - the ingredients that help cultivate humans as an intelligent and curious species.

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The Boredom

We do almost anything to avoid feeling bored.

As soon as our interest in an activity begins to decline we quickly turn to playing games, replying to messages, or engaging with some other easily-accessible distraction. We do this to avoid the mental discomfort of boredom. We're never too far away from something to stimulate us or give us a quick dopamine hit.

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3. Boredom enhances our life to be meaningful

The distressing feeling we get when we're bored acts like a mental alarm bell to tell us an activity isn't particularly pleasant, stimulating, or interesting . And therefore helps us to get out of the situation as quickly as possible.

In other words, boredom can make us reevaluate what we're doing, and motivate us to shift our goals to another activity that better meets our expectations or desires.

This is known as autobiographical planning . Essentially, when we're bored our mind-wandering becomes largely future-focused and we think a lot more about what we want from our life.

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What is boredom?

Contrary to popular belief, we don't just get bored because we've got nothing to do. There's always something on our to-do list , a chore we need to complete, or an essay we need to write . If anything, we've got way too much to do.

The problem then - and the real reason we get bored - is that none of these activities appeal to us right now . So although we've got lots of gadgets to play with and a stack of work we need to finish, if it doesn't immediately excite us we think "ughh, there's nothing to do". This is boredom.

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1. Boredom boosts creativity

When we're bored our minds wander to interesting (and surprisingly productive) places. So instead of having a narrow focus on any specific task, we begin to adopt a more diffuse mode of thinking, as Barbara Oakley put it in 'A Mind for Numbers '.

In other words, our brain is free to jump between different ideas and concepts, which is the ideal state for creative problem solving and lateral thinking.

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2. Boredom Enhances Productivity

As well as increasing our idea quality (i.e. creativity), boredom also increases our idea quantity . Seriously, doing less work can apparently make us more productive.

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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.

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Why Boredom Is So Powerful in Your Life

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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 think more creatively than those who aren’t. 

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

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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, which is worrisome given that studies have shown that boredom, depression, and destructive behaviors are often linked.

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There Are 5 Types Of Boredom. Which Are You Feeling?

fastcompany.com