Bored to Death...literally


| 3 Comments
As the beginning of the semester starts to wind down, classes may begin to seem longer each and every day. You might find yourself day dreaming or texting, doodling or tweeting during a lecture. Personally, I know that sometimes it's pretty hard for me to concentrate in certain classes. I've never really thought about my random spurts of boredom until now..usually I just diagnosed myself with an unofficial case of ADD or a disinterest in whatever I was doing. However, after doing a little research, science shows that boredom can be a result of brain chemistry and has the ability to shorten your life. 

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Psychologists relate depression and boredom together as a result of a dull environment or a lack of stimulation. While psychologists believe that being depressed and being bored are causal, scientists have found that people who are more likely to be bored may have lower levels of dopamine than those who are less likely to experience boredom. Research has also found that damage to one's frontal cortex can give them greater urges to take risks. Those with a level of unhappiness in their lives caused them to rely on unhealthy habits, which in turn, reduces their lifespan. People who are more easily bored tend to be at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, drug addiction, alcoholism, hostility, bad grades, and low work performance.


Some other explanations of boredom extend from differences in personality traits, attention skills, and a need for excitement



3 Comments

I'm guessing I have a short amount of time left...I'm always asleep in class, except Andrew's of course. Maybe the professors should seriously consider renting some ball pits and/or bouncy houses during class? And hey, I'm up for bringing nap time back. I personally think that some people are just born with a larger attention span! Its not something you can just learn how to do, I mean am I right? Ask a fish to climb a tree... or something like that.

Interesting post. The assertion that a dull environment can shorten your life i guess intuitively makes sense. Freakonomics radio actually released a podcast on a similar issue. They talk about how 40 or so years ago some doctors found that people from a certain U.S. town lived significantly longer and stayed healthier for a long time. After a lot of research they realised that the reason was that the town was made up of a very close community of italians who imigrated from the same village in Italy. It was a very revolutionary idea at the time that your health was affected by not only your excercise and eating, but also your social environment.

The podcast can be found online at:

http://www.freakonomics.com/radio/freakonomics-radio-podcast-archive/

The hypothesis proposed in your blog makes sense, but it makes asssumptions from one cause to another. I don't know if boredom necessarily relates to unhappiness, and therefore, an increased chance to partake in risky activities. However, I would think the boredom would directly cause people to add new activites in their lives, but whether they are unhealthy is a test of one's morals and personality. A certain person experiencing boredom could start a drug addiction, while someone with a more sound mind could start going to the gym for example. From this, making the correlation that boredom shortens your lifespan would be slightly inaccurate, and that it is other confounding variables all together that would drive this notion.

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