Thursday, February 11, 2010

Health Care and Boredom

Have you ever been bored--at home, at work, at church, at any social function? How does that happen? Is it a state of mind or is boredom based on a lack of interest in your surroundings? According to, boredom is a complex process. There are lots of reasons that one might be bored. The most common one is that you have no idea what to do. But other reasons might be you feel lazy or tired and just don't want to do the things that are available for you to do. Maybe you have ideas of things to do, and aren't feeling lazy, but you don't feel you can do the things you want to do. Perhaps you lack motivation to be involved in your daily activities.

Studies of boredom on the job indicated, according to, 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.” Were the victims “bored to death”? Can their employers be imprisoned for murder? In the future, can the legal system indict all droning bores on charges of “assault with a lethal weapon”? Not really, no, and no. However, boredom is not the specific cause of the victims’ demise. Nobody suddenly collapsed face-first on their keyboard, crushed by an actuarial task. Truth is — small amounts of daily boredom won’t hurt you. You can safely continue to launder your clothes and ride your exercise bike.

Accordingt to, the word “boredom” is modern. Charles Dickens first coined it in his 1853 novel Bleak House. Philosophers and psychologists have embraced boredom. Martin Heidegger wrote 100 pages on the tedious mood. Arthur Schopenhauer categorized boredom as inherent in the human condition. Soren Kierkegaard defined boredom and its cousin despair as “inner death” in The Sickness Unto Death and postulated that all human life is in motion towards boredom. Sigmund Freud theorized that boredom was the result of repressed emotions, and Albert Schweitzer concurred with this diagnosis when he compared boredom to African’s sleeping sickness. “Your soul suffers if you live superficially,” Schweitzer warns, advising readers to combat “indifference” by searching in “their inmost selves” for their “inner voice.”

Being bored is a state of mind when you are fed up and sick of what's going on or the lack of activity around you, according to Complacency also contributes to feeling bored. Boredom becomes a great concern when it results in procrastination, indecision and feeling listless and jaded. The best way to avoid feeling bored is to make your life interesting by not sticking to too many routines. Another way is by making daily progress in everything that you do. You need to pay attention to your thoughts and daily activities and find ways not to submit yourself to drudgery and taking things for granted.

According to, most people blame boredom on the circumstances, but psychologists say this emotion is highly subjective and rooted in aspects of consciousness—and that levels of boredom vary among people. Some individuals are less—and others considerably more—likely to be bored than others. Boredom is not a unified concept but may comprise several varieties, including the transient type that occurs while waiting in line and so-called existential boredom that accompanies a profound dissatisfaction with life. Boredom is linked to both emotional factors and personality traits. Problems with attention also play a role, and thus techniques that improve a person’s ability to focus may diminish boredom.

Children may become bored quickly as their attention span is very short, and teens likely will suffer the same fate as the interest levels change dramatically through the junior high and high school years. But when boredom becomes chronic, it’s dangerous, according to The numb condition lures desperate humans into “make-me-feel-alive” behavior like over-eating, alcoholism, sex addiction, smoking, drug dependency, self-mutilation, fist-fighting, off-road racing, pathological gambling, and vandalism. It can plunge one into poor grades in school or poor work performance. Boredom can spiral into depression, which carries a high risk of heart disease. Anxiety produced by boredom and depression releases hormones such as cortisol. These hormones damage the circulatory system. “Anger suppression” in boredom is also detrimental. Bottled rage increases blood pressure and weakens the immune system.

There are plenty of activities that parents, caregivers, counselors, youth workers, and teachers can do with children and teens to make sure they stay motivated to overcome boredom. If you run out of your own ideas, plenty more can be found online through various websites including and others, including tips from Julie Anderson, a Home Schooling consultant at Great advice for kids to stay active and interested, especially in a home school environment. Other ideas to keep children from being bored come from parenting magazines, travel magazine, and more that provide handy tips to combat the "Boredom Monster."

According to, your child's boredom is your responsibility. Once you teach them the value of down time, boredom becomes their responsibility. Your children often get into trouble when they look to others to remedy their boredom. The first step to eliminate boredom is to eliminate the term boredom. When a child says, "I'm bored," they are asking someone for something to do. It may also imply the desire to do something different and exciting. Children often perform acts against their character to alleviate the feeling of boredom. You can train your children to value and utilize down time. Downtime plays a very important role in our lives, if you let it. It is the time you can rest and be refreshed. You can explore and develop your talents, and this is the time where you can look at your to do list and catch up on what you did not have time to do before, or to contemplate today and strategize events for tomorrow. Youth respond to boredom in two ways. Either they project it externally in the form of mischief or reckless behavior, or they project it internally in the form of lethargy that eventually leads to depression. Some children visit both stages. They become depressed and then commit mischievous acts as a cry for help. In more advanced cases of boredom, youth become numb to any fear of discipline.

For the senior population, boredom is an even bigger concern. According to, Boredom is an important quality of life issue for many senior citizens. When it comes to elderly home care or assisted living facilities, family caregivers must ensure that the physical, mental and emotional needs of seniors are being met. Those taking care of parents at home must also strive to provide stimulating activities in order to prevent loved ones from sinking into a pit of depression that’s hard to climb out of and can have disastrous results. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), older Americans are more likely to commit suicide than any other age group. As noted by NIMH, nearly 16% of suicide deaths in the country were those 65 years of age or older. Boredom that leads to depression is a major factor in many homes, senior health care facilities and assisted living homes. It is up to family caregivers to reduce such risks when it comes to taking care of our elderly population. Boredom leads to multiple emotional issues, including:
--Feelings of worthlessness.
--Feeling that life is no longer worth living.
--Feelings of intense restlessness.
--Feeling unloved or uncared about.

More information about dealing with boredom and seniors can be found at Another timely site on this subject is . Senior citizens are the quickest growing U.S. residents sector. The needs and expectations of seniors have changed considerably lately. Increasing awareness in growing older in good health , coincides with the whole person wellness model that includes physical, emotional, non secular, intellectual, occupational, and social dimensions. More info about solving boredom in seniors can also be found at

The bottom line is that boredom can be easily solved. The motivation to overcome it may need to have some stimulus from external sources, or just from within. Capturing the essence of life is not accomplished if you intend to mirror a sofa spud. Get up and get active!

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

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