Why Do We Get Bored?
Being temporarily uninterested in anything happening is boredom. It has been found as far back as ancient Pompeii. Now we have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, texting to keep ourselves occupied. Physical pain, heartbreak and nausea are also uncomfortable like boredom but they are caused by dangerous and toxic things whereas boredom occurs when you are merely disinterested in the outside world and in the inner world of your thought. Does this existence of boredom mean that when it really comes down to life itself existing isn’t really enough? In this regard Arthur Schopenhauer said that “if life possessed in itself a positive value in real content, there would be no such thing as boredom. Mere existence would fulfill and satisfied us”. But boredom exists so apparently life doesn’t satisfy us. So is it something wrong about us or something really amazing? Boredom is an expression of a profound despair and not finding anything that can satisfy the souls’ boundless needs.
So, while superficially boredom might seem trivial or and embarrassing, it is not boring. When bored your brain activity only drops about 5% and magnetic resonance images of people’s brains while they were bored actually showed up greater activity in regions responsible for recalling autobiographical memory, conceiving the thoughts and feelings of others and conjuring hypothetical events, imagining. It is an imposed state that leaves us to think about ourselves. It helps us take a look around the things we overlooked and help us do productive works like cleaning, writing etc.
Our brains need stimulation in order to stay healthy, perfect balance of stimulation unique to each individual under which they can perform optimally, with energized focus, what psychologists call flow. Variety and stimulation encourage neurogenesis, new brain cells and can extend the lives that already exist in certain regions of the brain. In order to avoid lack of stimulation our brains will even make up their own stimulation, hallucinations. When denied proper stimulation brain goes through phases that begin with boredom and can become much worse if left unchecked.
Regular life boredom is not a disorder, it is an emotion. Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotions is a great way to visualize this. The wheel is based on 8 basic emotion extended in order of intensity. Boredom is positioned as a light version of disgust. Emotions are not superfluous. Normal amounts of them have a purpose.
Creatures who feel emotions are often compelled to do and not do more complicated things than merely eating, drinking, sleeping and procreating like building friendships, apologizing, loving unconditionally and planning and building for the future. Disgust is an emotion we don’t like. It keeps us from doing things.
Its purpose is most likely a warning, an alarm triggered by things that appear rancid, spoiled or toxic, that could prison us or make us sick. Like a good friend disgust pushes us away from such things. It guides us in a healthy direction. Likewise, boredom protects us. Monotonous speakers mind numbing tasks, and overloaded sameness, those things aren’t dirty or poisonous they are just not stimulating enough. Boredom compels us to new things; fresh stimulation when it cannot be overcome a propensity to boredom is a sign of a healthy mind.
Transcripted By Benazir Elahee Munni