Are You Part Of Gen­er­a­tion Bored?

# YAWN Ac­cord­ing to new re­search two thirds of us are bored with our lives and ex­perts think so­cial me­dia could be to blame


Ever feel like your life is lack­ing some­thing? That even though you’re sur­rounded by peo­ple, by stim­u­la­tion, some­thing’s miss­ing and you’re a lit­tle bit… bored? Well, you’re not alone. A new study has re­vealed that two thirds of mil­len­ni­als (18- to 30-year-olds) feel like they’re not ex­actly sat­is­fied by life. In fact, just four per cent say they never get bored.

The study*, which sur­veyed 1,000 peo­ple, found that mil­len­ni­als are the most bored de­mo­graphic in Bri­tain, with 27 per cent of peo­ple say­ing they were tired of watch­ing tele­vi­sion and 25 per cent even ad­mit­ting that they were bored while fall­ing asleep. Yep, that’s an ac­tual thing.

It’s some­thing that Gemma Sim­mons*, a 28-year-old ad­min as­sis­tant from Lon­don can re­late to. She tells Look: ‘This is a new thing and I’m sure a large part of it is due to so­cial me­dia. We’re con­stantly see­ing a glam­ourised por­trayal of other peo­ple’s lives – hol­i­days and ex­cit­ing bars and par­ties – and I know that makes me feel bor­ing, which in turn makes me feel bored with my own life.’

Gemma went on to ad­mit that part of the prob­lem is that she feels like she’s en­ti­tled to more from life – some­thing a lot of peo­ple can prob­a­bly re­late to, right? – and when it doesn’t meet her ex­pec­ta­tions she’s left feel­ing a bit ‘meh’. She says: ‘We’ve been told that we can have it all and be­cause of that I’ve al­ways ex­pected to have an ex­cit­ing job, and a nice flat, and to be go­ing out all the time with a big gang. But ac­tu­ally at my age peo­ple are ei­ther a bit sorted or in limbo. Half my friends are mar­ried and/or buy­ing houses and start­ing to talk about ba­bies, while the other half can’t af­ford to do any­thing but live in a bed­sit that’s so far out of Lon­don they can’t be both­ered to go out and no one can be ar­sed to visit them.’

Life coach Sarah Alexan­der says that the bore­dom epi­demic has started to af­fect her clients. ‘This is a trend that I’ve no­ticed. And I be­lieve that the con­stant use of mo­bile phones, tablets, lap­tops, smart TVS etc means that stim­u­la­tion of cer­tain ar­eas of our brains is now avail­able to us 24/7. We’re bom­barded by an­nounce­ments that a text has come in, some­one’s posted on Face­book/twit­ter or an email has ar­rived. This means that the nov­elty-crav­ing part of our brains (the pre­frontal cor­tex) feels re­warded. When we an­swer these mes­sages, the brain re­leases dopamine (the feel­good hor­mone), which we also nat­u­rally, in­stinc­tively want more of. And it’s dopamine that feeds ad­dic­tions! So with­out this mental stim­u­la­tion, go­ing out seems bor­ing, work seems dull and rou­tine tasks feel mun­dane.’

Sarah con­cludes: ‘I be­lieve that tech­nol­ogy has just given us an­other ad­dic­tion to crave and we get with­drawal symp­toms (bore­dom) when we don’t have it.’

Blog­ger Yas­min Har­isha, 21, says the prob­lem af­fects her friend­ship group: ‘There al­ways seems to be some­thing better round the cor­ner and we know it.’ And Hat­tie Jamieson, 21, cur­rently un­em­ployed, agrees. She says: ‘Ev­ery­one sets high ex­pec­ta­tions of ev­ery­thing now. You can see when some­one gets a fan­tas­tic job, or they’re trav­el­ling to amaz­ing places. It’s al­most like a com­pe­ti­tion of who can post the best things.’ Pretty easy to see how you could end up feel­ing un­happy with your lot, eh?

So what can we do about it? Well, Sarah has some pretty handy ad­vice. ‘Shift your fo­cus onto some­thing pos­i­tive and keep it there. This al­lows the bore­dom to pass away,’ she ex­plains. ‘You have to recog­nise that while there’s a part of you that feels bored, there’s also a part of you that feels happy and con­tent. We call this part “aware­ness”. No­tice this con­tent part, un­der­stand how it feels and let its pos­i­tive en­ergy can­cel out the bore­dom. In the longer term, try to cut down on the stim­u­la­tion of tech­nol­ogy: don’t use tech­nol­ogy after a cer­tain time at night. Have spe­cific times of day to use it and then turn it off if pos­si­ble. The more we can stop the in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion of tech­nol­ogy, the more we’re able to find a better bal­ance within the brain and its neu­ro­trans­mit­ters dopamine and sero­tonin. Recog­nise tech­nol­ogy’s ad­dic­tive qual­ity and do not re­spond to the de­sire to open ev­ery mes­sage im­me­di­ately, to read ev­ery Face­book post or to check emails con­stantly.’

For Gemma, switch­ing off helps. ‘I read a lot, which helps me to stop get­ting bored. There’s al­ways the temp­ta­tion to turn to so­cial me­dia or the tele­vi­sion but I think that it can be­come a vi­cious cy­cle when it comes to bore­dom.’

Ba­si­cally, it sounds like it’s time to turn off those smart phones, and start liv­ing a lit­tle, guys – ah, go on!

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