Being responsible for our own boredom…

Interesting Scientific American article about the causes of boredom.   Two points from the summary (emphasis mine):

Most people blame boredom on the circumstances, but psychologists say this emotion is highly subjective and rooted in aspects of consciousness—and that levels of boredom vary among people. Some individuals are less—and others considerably more—likely to be bored than others.

Boredom is linked to both emotional factors and personality traits. Problems with attention also play a role, and thus techniques that improve a person’s ability to focus may diminish boredom.

In other words, we aren’t simply victims of boredom, but we sometimes are its unwitting accomplices.  Many effective techniques for combating boredom just require a bit of effort or training:

Treatments for boredom, like the feeling itself, come in many varieties. If boredom stems from understimulating work, a solution might be to change jobs or to enrich the working environment with new levels of complexity and challenge…. For example, a supermarket clerk might improve service by taking the time to strike up a genuine conversation with customers….[truck] drivers who played mental games, such as counting passing objects, reported little boredom. They were also safer drivers.

[Training in techniques that promote] mindfulness, “the state of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present,” … may decrease boredom by making people both more attentive and less likely to obsess over their own moods.

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3 Responses

  1. […] A contrary view on boredom Posted on July 9, 2008 by Paul Ritchie Phil B. has a little different take on boredom at work (here).  Per my earlier post, I believe it is my responsibility to not be bored (here).  […]

  2. […] does that mean? If I am listening to an explanation given by a college professor and am bored, then who is responsible for me being bored? Am I responsible for my emotion or is the college professor? Really, how can someone make another […]

  3. […] that mean? If I am listening to an explanation given by a college professor and am bored, then who is responsible for me being bored? Am I responsible for my emotion or is the college professor? Really, how can someone make another […]

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