Please, readers! If you experience disinterest, apathy, ennui, malaise, dysthymia, lassitude, or neurasthenia as you peruse this essay… click away to safety! If you sense your cognition tumbling towards a fetid swamp of brain-paralyzing boredom — abandon me! I don’t want your death on my conscience.
Boredom is a killer, suggests an essay in the April 2010 International Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers Annie Britton and Martin Shipley at University College London examined questionnaires completed by 7,524 civil workers in 1985-1988 that queried the bureaucrats on their interest level regarding work. Multiple-choice options ranged from experiencing boredom “not at all” to “all the time.” In 2009, the surveyors reconnected with their subjects. They discovered that those who expressed severe job boredom were 2.5 times more likely to be dead of cardiovascular disease. Their conclusion: “those who report being bored are more likely to die younger than those who are not bored.”
Why Boredom is exhausting.By now you’ve probably seen this story floating around about how doodling may improve concentration, but I’m particularly interested in this part of the story:
When people are bored they have high levels of brain activity, Andrade says. “When you’re bored, you think nothing much is going on, but actually your brain is looking for something to do.”Which explains why we can feel so tired and burned out after a long, boring but easy day at work or school – or many successive days of boredom.
So we daydream. But daydreaming takes considerable mental effort, particularly when we get stuck in a daydream. “So that sucks mental resources and energy away from the other task we’re meant to be doing,” Andrade says.