I did not know you could literally be bored to death! That is a scary thought to me. In The Unengaged Mind, John Eastwood defines boredom as the inability to stay attentive in three ways:
- by failing to engage with internal and external stimuli,
- by becoming obsessed with the idea of being bored, and
- by blaming our boredom on our surroundings.
Study after study has shown that boredom has been associated with increased drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, depression, and anxiety. There are also some studies that suggest you can literally be bored to death. Annie Britton and Martin Shipley of University College London analyzed questionnaires completed between 1985 and 1988 by more than 7,500 London civil servants ages 35 to 55. Britton and Shipley then tracked down how many of the participants had died by April 2009. Those who reported they had been very bored were two and a half times more likely to die of a heart problem than those who hadn’t reported being bored. According to Dr. Christopher Cannon, Director, Education, Cardiovascular Medicine Innovation Professor, Harvard Medical School, “Someone who is bored may not be motivated to eat well, exercise, and have a heart-healthy lifestyle. That may make them more likely to have a cardiovascular event.”
Scary thought, right? I know! When I first started reading about boredom, my brain went into overdrive, trying to figure out how to make sure I stay stimulated. I tend to overdo it sometimes. :-). If you are anything like me, pump your brakes cowgirl! Before you run out and overstimulate yourself by engaging in activity after activity, just like everything else, the best results come from learning how to balance your boredom. Overstimulation is not the answer either. Sometimes it is okay to wallow in your boredom and allow your mind to wander and dream and fantasize.
When you feel like you have wallowed enough and it is time to do something about your boredom, might I suggest learning something new. Here are 5 suggestions for those looking to learn something new:
- Sign up for an online course at https://www.thegreatcourses.com/
- Check out the Goop Lab on Netflix. I LOVED this series because it opened my eyes to so many new ideas and concepts surrounding wellness.
- Read a biography or autobiography/memoir about a person that you want to learn more about. Two that I enjoyed:
- Talk to someone older or younger than you. I love meeting new people, and 9 times out of 10, I walk away having learned something new.
- Take a class! I am not talking about a traditional class. I am talking about a cooking class, a yoga class, a meditation class. My cousin used the Meetup App when she relocated to Spain to help her connect with people and find different activities to do. I plan to use the meetup app when I get to Chapel Hill to find new activities to explore.
What are your boredom busters? Don’t be selfish! Share.