The benefits of boredom: Why feeling fed up could actually be a good thing

From channel-surfing to cellphone games, modern lifestyles present countless ways to keep our minds occupied. But a new book believes boredom may actually be good for you as it functions as a trigger to change a situation.
Mental warning- In Boredom A Lively History, Professor Peter Toohey, explains that the feeling of ennui is actually designed to protect us
Mental warning- In Boredom A Lively History, Professor Peter Toohey, explains that the feeling of ennui is actually designed to protect us

From channel-surfing to cellphone games, modern lifestyles present countless ways to keep our minds occupied.

But a new book believes boredom may actually be good for you as it functions as a trigger to change a situation.

In Boredom: A Lively History, University of Calgary professor Peter Toohey, explains that the feeling of ennui is designed to protect us against negative situations.

He believes that boredom is akin to a mild feeling of disgust, brought on by temporarily unavoidable or predictable circumstances.

He said: It [makes] you change your situation. It’s a warning we almost always act upon.

'One of the more obvious upsides is, a lot of people link it with creativity. You’ve got to fall into the deep, the absolute misery, and then something comes out of your brain.

‘A lot of people talk about the value of daydreaming, which can also be the product of boring or mildly boring situations, and your best ideas may come from it.’

Professor Toohey said that some people were more inclined towards boredom than others, something linked to the amount of dopamine in the brain.

He cited studies which showed that people with low levels of the neurotransmitter suffered from longer and more frequent periods of boredom.

He speculated that aerobic exercise was the greatest way to avoid boredom.

‘There’s been a link made between monotony and the plasticity of the brain - monotony is bad, it’s bad for neuroplasticity,’ he said.

‘So how do you encourage brain plasticity? It seems the greatest way to do it is aerobic exercise. Perhaps a fair amount of exercise in a person’s life might make them somewhat boredom-proof.’

But even he wasn’t immune to feelings of tedium, he added.

‘Sometimes when I’m working on books like this - it’s fun to think about, it’s fun to talk about, but it can get incredibly tedious [to research and write].’
Daily Mail

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