More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Boredom comes from not knowing ourselves
Monday, February 05, 2007

The next time you find yourself lost in a fog of boredom during an endless, rainy Sunday afternoon, consider this new research by John Eastwood and colleagues, showing boredom has little to do with lack of external stimulation and everything to do with being out of touch with our emotions.

Two hundred and four undergrads completed questionnaires about their susceptibility to boredom, and about their emotions, including questions on describing feelings and being externally focused.

The students who said they suffered from more boredom also tended to report difficulty identifying their emotions and being externally focused. Eastwood and colleagues said this shows our natural tendency to seek outside stimulations and distractions when we?re bored is the wrong solution.

?Like the trap of quicksand, such thrashing only serves to strengthen the grip of boredom by further alienating us from our desire and passion, which provide compass points for satisfying engagement with life?, they said. Instead the researchers suggest treating boredom as an opportunity to ?discover the possibility and content of one?s desires?.

Eastwood, J.D., Cavaliere, C., Fahlman, S.A. & Eastwood, A.E. (2007). A desire for desires: Boredom and its relation to alexithymia. Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 1035-1045.
 

Daniel

admin@psychlinks.org
Administrator
Seriously, the actual research article is excellent (and is free if one has access to a university library account). Below is the last paragraph:

Rather than fighting boredom we would do well to pause and learn from the experience. From the psychodynamic perspective, the experience of boredom is important because it provides an opportunity to discover the possibility and content of one’s desire. Boredom, in this view, plays a particularly important developmental role. Phillips (1993) states: “It is one of the most oppressive demands of adults that the child should be interested, rather than take time to find what interests him. Boredom is integral to the process of taking one’s time” (p. 69). From a more existential perspective, Brodsky (1995) argues that boredom has value because it is a “window on time’s infinity” (p. 109) and, in contrast, our finitude and “utter insignificance” (p. 109) in the flow of time. Putting our existence into such perspective is, for Brodsky, ultimately life affirming because “the more finite a thing is, the more it is charged with life, emotions, joys, fears, compassion” (p. 110). And herein also lies the antidote to boredom – not in the environment, but in us: “So try to stay passionate, leave your cool to constellations [because] passion, above all, is a remedy against boredom” (Brodsky, 1995, p. 111).

A desire for desires: Boredom and its relation to alexithymia (Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 42, Issue 6, April 2007, Pages 1035-1045.)
 

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
There have been very few times in my life when I have been even close to bored. I always have plenty of interesting things and projects to do - my problem is finding enough time to do them all.
 

lepetite

Member
I get bored more in the winter time when the things I like to do are put on hold until spring hits. Fortunately I can usually find something to occupy my time but am ready for spring.:)
 

ThatLady

Member
I just don't get bored. I guess I'm fortunate that way. There's always something to do, and if not something to do then something to think about, or to research. Boredom is foreign to me.
 

ThatLady

Member
I agree, Janet. That sounds more like depression than boredom to me, as well. I'm sorry you have to feel so passionless, Mary. :hug:
 

just mary

Member
Maybe that's not boredom, but depression or a sense of hopelessness?

I was just thinking this to myself a few minutes ago. Is boredom a symptom of depression? Or is boredom something different? What is boredom?

Thanks for the :hug: :hug: , much appreciated.

:hug: :hug: back. :)
 

ThatLady

Member
I think boredom is a temporary thing. It's a short-term feeling of having nothing interesting to do. When the feeling of having nothing to do, while surrounded by interesting things one could do, goes on for awhile, it's probably not boredom. It's depression.
 

just mary

Member
When the feeling of having nothing to do, while surrounded by interesting things one could do, goes on for awhile, it's probably not boredom. It's depression.

That's a good way to put it. Thanks TL.

I wonder if the "bored" people in the article were happy, sad, lonely or just bored. Were they bored with life, their surroundings?

I'm going to see if I can get this article at a University library, I would really like to read more of it. I guess this means I still have an interest in something.

jm
 

ThatLady

Member
Wow, Mary! Isn't it great to know that there are still things out there that can pique your interest? :)
 
:hug: :hug: mary

I don't think I get bored, but I will say that I believe depression causes me not to be able to focus on things the way I wish I could. Also, I feel overwhelmed a lot and just want to shut out the world and my thoughts. I get frustrated that sometimes I have so many ideas of things I want to do and I can't do them because of that feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start.
 
I very rarely get bored, my budgies take up alot of my time, and theres always a DVD to watch, a book to read, some housework to do, something to search for on the net/or someone to chat too, or a cd to listen too, the list goes on....:)
 

Halo

Member
For me there are many things that I am interested in learning, knowing, reading about or doing but I just have this overall sense of not caring enough to do any of them. Even reading for example, I have good intentions and even bought 3 books over the past couple of months and I keep staring at them because I just don't have the energy or drive to want to read them although I know the stories will be good.

I think in my head that something sounds like a good idea but never really follow through. I just say whatever and don't care and don't feel like I have the energy to do any of them and would rather sit on my bed and be left alone.
 

Benjamin

Member
I get bored working sometimes. I've lost my fascination with programming and want to get into something where I can use different skills. When I'm not working, though, I'm never bored. There's always something to learn or do.
 

MDH

Member
Heh. I know this by nature. I tend to expriment with my thoughts alot and discover all sorts of interesting, complex, and bizzarely truthful sounding whims...
 
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