What the mysterious boredom divide teaches us
Psychologists differ in their definition of boredom.
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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 boredom each person can deal with.
Boredom is sometimes described as the plague of modern society.
Psychologists now know there are at least five types of boredom.
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.
Only some people allow themselves to become bored. They recognise that sense of restlessness and find a way to turn things around.
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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...
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.
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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 ...
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.
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.
Charles Dickens popularised the term boredom in 1853. Boredom became particularly popular in English Victorian writing in describing the life of the upper class, where boredom was indicatin...
In the 20th century, psychologists gained an understanding of many emotions, but boredom was left alone. In 1972, psychoanalyst Erich Fromm declared boredom as "the most important source of aggression and destructiveness today."
The image of boredom changed again in the past few decades and with it, an appreciation of the emotion.
Thus, it seems that boredom helps regulate our behaviour and stops us from getting stuck in unrewarding situations.