Types of boredom are quite riv­et­ing

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

LON­DON: You may be bored, but do you have the healthy type of boredom? Or the type that may harm or even kill you?

Boredom is in­creas­ingly be­ing linked to a range of health prob­lems and psy­chol­o­gists have come to be­lieve there is more than one type, some even sug­gest that there may be as many as five. Re­search shows ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the “wrong” sort of boredom can make us obese, self-de­struc­tive and sex­u­ally im­po­tent. It may also lead us to ear­lier death.

But the right type can fos­ter pos­i­tive traits such as cre­ativ­ity, re­silience and hap­pi­ness.

Oddly, it seems that the way to get “healthily bored” is to em­brace te­dium. But most of us would rather elec­tro­cute our­selves than suf­fer boredom, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in the jour­nal Psy­cho­log­i­cal Re­search.

Sixty-nine vol­un­teers were placed in a lab en­vi­ron­ment where noth­ing hap­pened for 15 min­utes at a stretch. But the vol­un­teers could use lab equip­ment to give them­selves elec­tric shocks.

The more bored they were, the more likely they were to give them­selves shocks, in­creas­ingly in­tense ones at that, say the Maas­tricht Univer­sity in­ves­ti­ga­tors. When bored, we are prone to gorge on fat­ten­ing snacks, ac­cord­ing to a study in­volv­ing the uni­ver­si­ties of Kent and Southamp­ton.

Psy­chol­o­gists asked 140 peo­ple to record their food in­take and moods, and do lab tests to mon­i­tor their eat­ing. They not only ate more calo­ries when bored, but were most likely to eat junk food.

Be­ing prone to boredom can also make men a flop in bed, ac­cord­ing to Ger­man sex­ol­o­gists. A study of more than 1 000 men in re­la­tion­ships found those who scored high on boredom tests were likely to suf­fer from erec­tile dys­func­tion. The prob­lem was not pri­mar­ily phys­i­cal, says the 2015 re­port in the Jour­nal of Sex­ual Medicine. The bored men showed a lack of imag­i­na­tion, and their erotic drives with­ered from te­dium.

Worse still, peo­ple may find them­selves truly “bored to death”, a long-run­ning study of more than 7 500 pub­lic ser­vants showed. In the mid-1980s, epi­demi­ol­o­gists at Univer­sity Col­lege Lon­don asked them to rate daily lev­els of boredom. In 1999, re­searchers fol­lowed up sub­se­quent health records.

“Those who had re­ported a great deal of boredom were more likely to die dur­ing fol­low-up than those not bored at all,” says the re­port in the In­ter­na­tional Jour­nal of Epi­demi­ol­ogy in 2010. The dif­fer­ence was largely made up of deaths from heart at­tacks.

It may not have been boredom it­self that killed them. The re­searchers found the eas­ily bored were more likely to smoke, binge-drink and take drugs.

Yet there is an up­side to be­ing bored, de­pend­ing on the type of boredom.

A study led by Thomas Goetz, an ed­u­ca­tional sci­en­tist at the Univer­sity of Kon­stanz, Ger­many, iden­ti­fied five types: in­dif­fer­ent, cal­i­brat­ing, search­ing, re­ac­tant and ap­a­thetic.

Pro­fes­sor Goetz claimed that while we ex­pe­ri­ence all kinds of boredom, and might switch be­tween them, we each tend to spe­cialise in one.

Re­ac­tant boredom is most harm­ful: this is char­ac­terised by in­tense neg­a­tive feel­ings which make peo­ple restless, an­gry and stressed.

Mean­while, in­dif­fer­ent boredom could be ben­e­fi­cial. In this state, we are not do­ing any­thing par­tic­u­larly sat­is­fy­ing, but feel calm, so can start day­dream­ing and think­ing cre­atively. – Daily Mail

But the right type can fos­ter pos­i­tive traits such as cre­ativ­ity

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