Naureen Aqueel

Boredom blues

Posted on: January 27, 2008

Published in Dawn, Magazine, January 27, 2008.

How many times do we hear the words “I am bored” from those around us, and many a times, from ourselves? What is the most-cited reason for this rather peculiar emotion?

Most people blame boredom on lack of external stimulation, absence of interesting activities and the failure of the external world to engage one’s feelings, desires and mood. A dull environment, monotonous tasks and repetitive and uninteresting happenings are often cited as causes of boredom. But there is more to boredom than just external circumstances.

Interestingly enough, recent research provides evidence to show that far from the external environment and surroundings, boredom is more a result of our own failure to know ourselves.

The journal “Personality and Individual Differences” published a study carried out by John D. Eastwood and colleagues of York University (2007), demonstrating how boredom is the result of an inability to consciously access and understand one’s emotions. Participants in the study were made to complete questionnaires containing self-report scales of boredom, emotional awareness and their external orientation.

It was found that participants who reported experiencing more boredom, were also the ones who were more externally focused and had difficulty in identifying their emotions. Results indicated a correlation between boredom, emotional awareness and external orientation. The researchers concluded that the basic cause behind boredom is the inability of the individual to understand his/her own emotions.

Boredom is thus highly subjective and does not just arise because ‘there is nothing to do’ instead, it results from our inability to know ourselves and understand our desires. Hence, a greater awareness of oneself and one’s desires, is the key to battling boredom.

So the next time you feel bored, don’t blame your job, surroundings or environment. Take this opportunity to reflect deeply and try to understand yourself.

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