What to do at home if you are bored

Boredom — is it a state of mind to be concerned about? And how can you get rid of it?

Why Boredom occurs and whether it can be a symptom of a mental disorder

Boredom is a state of fatigue and anxiety due to lack of interest. French researcher Emile Tardieu was the first to make boredom an object of psychological research. He distinguished the following reasons for experiencing this state:

  • physical and mental exhaustion;
  • lack of variety and insufficient strength of ability;
  • a sense of a failed life;
  • monotony;
  • satiety.

Boredom and apathy are often confused, but they are distinct. Apathy is characterized by complete indifference to everything. Boredom is characterized by problems with involvement in the processes of everyday life — including your favourite hobbies, be they listening to music, watching movies or playing slot games for free — and the endless search for something interesting.

The constant companion of boredom is clip-thinking. A person switches from one subject to another without focusing on one thing for any length of time.

You can check your predisposition to boredom by taking a test.

Why previous activities suddenly become boring

Boredom occurs due to loss of interest and lack of involvement in daily work and household activities.

There are four reasons why this usually happens:

The choice was made unconsciously and was not suitable from the beginning. Perhaps you decided to do something for company or based on someone’s recommendation. It turns out that the choice was made as a result of external influence, not actively, and ambition is misdirected.

The algorithm by which anything is accomplished is no longer of interest. Our brain needs novelty from time to time. This may take the form of a new sphere of activity, new tasks, environment or at least a new way of solving previous tasks. This is a necessary eustress for the brain, which positively affects our well-being.

Monotony of activity. Many types of work are associated with the performance of habitual identical actions from day to day. This form of work organization provokes monotony. It is accompanied by a decrease in receptivity and weakening of conscious control, as well as boredom.

People who work at a machine or on a conveyor belt, or who perform the same set of activities without being able to move around at work, such as cashiers, are at risk. To prevent this condition, it is necessary to take breaks. You can do exercises and self-massage. If you have any physical limitations, consult a specialist.

Inappropriate level of difficulty of tasks. In order to maintain engagement, it is necessary that the tasks performed are slightly above a person’s ability. This condition will increase the likelihood of a state of flow.

Flow is the joyful feeling of being absorbed in an interesting activity. When the sense of time is lost, thoughts of problems go away and concentration is easily maintained.

If the tasks are too simple or, on the contrary, too complex, it is impossible to enter the flow state.

How boredom and motivation are related

Boredom signals difficulty with engagement and a loss of meaning. And these are related to how much intrinsic motivation a person has.

Intrinsic motivation is a type of motivation in which a person performs an activity for the pleasure of the process and gives it its own meaning.

Example

When Vika was a child, no one taught her to swim. This made her feel uncomfortable and limited. When she became an adult, she realized that she wanted to learn to swim. She is not bored to go to the pool, because it was her own desire, no external circumstances forced her.

External motivation is a type of motivation that is regulated from the outside: a person does something for the sake of expected benefit rather than pleasure, looking for an answer to the question “Why?” not within himself, but in the external environment.

For example, the motivation of a student who prepares for an exam a day before it can be called external. He cares about the grade and parents’ opinion, but the subject itself is not interesting to him.

Boredom and sustained attention

Persistence of attention is responsible for a person’s ability to maintain and return his attention to the same object, discovering it from different angles.

People who are often in a state of boredom have difficulties with sustained attention. They do not know how and do not train their ability to discover new things, although it is quite easy to do it.

For example, there is such an exercise: take a familiar thing, set a timer and study it for at least three minutes. Then gradually increase this time to 5-10 minutes.

At first your brain will resist, but then familiar things will start to open up from new sides. You can study anything. The main thing is that it should be something familiar.

What to do to stop being bored

Boredom is a signal from our body and psyche that it’s time to make changes in life. Find meaning in everyday things, reconsider previously made choices, remove clutter and learn to see familiar things from a new, previously unknown side.

There are two ways to do this:

Self-discovery – learning about yourself, your interests, showing yourself patience and care.

Avoidance – a constant search for something or someone to entertain, at least for a while. This cycle can be repeated an infinite number of times.

By choosing the first, you will be grateful to boredom for the opportunity to see your life and everything in it from a new angle.

If you choose the second, you’ll leave things as they are and constantly struggle with loss of interest and irritability.

If you find it difficult to change your life on your own, seek help from a professional. Everyone has a hard time at first, and the help of a competent person always makes the path easier.

Boredom and mental problems

People with ADHD are particularly prone to boredom, because the disorder itself means attention problems and impulsivity.

Boredom can also sometimes be linked to depression, and the link is two-way: boredom can either trigger depression in the future or be part of an existing depression.