What is the cause of the “Summertime Blues,” and is there truly no cure? July is National Antiboredom Month. Usually kids get out of school in June and by July find themselves stir crazy with their free days. This year, however, school ended months earlier and many parents have been stuck home with them. As restrictions around the nation start getting tighter once again, now is a good time to revisit the risks and causes of boredom.
What is Boredom?
According to vocabulary.com;
“The word boredom comes from something called a “boring tool”, a kind of drill that works slowly and repetitively. Around 1768, bore, meaning “be tiresome,” became a popular slang term, and boredom followed.”Vocabulary.com
Boredom isn’t just having nothing to do, but not having something that stimulates us. This may be caused by low dopamine levels, the “happy” chemical in your brain. Other causes include poor rest or nutrition, lack of interest, not enough diversity of activities, or too much repetition.
Bored to Death
An Oxford study showed that those who are frequently bored are more likely to die younger. While boredom isn’t a cause of death, it is an indicator for more high risk behaviors and conditions, such as drinking. Another study suggests a link from boredom to anxiety and depression.
Psychologists have coined the term “flow.” That is, the right combination of ease and challenge. Think of how a writer can sit at a computer for all day and not notice their hunger. How children can play for hours on end in the same yard day after day. Gardeners, athletes, artists, even gamers find this place where time moves a bit faster as they strive in an area they already have some skill.
The point of Antiboredom Month is for you to identify the causes of your personal boredom and the actions you can take to prevent it. This article from Healthline gives some concrete steps you can take to identify and prevent boredom in yourself or your child. Some quick steps include:
- Get proper rest and nutrition.
- Track when and where you’re bored.
- Don’t blame yourself (or your child) for the boredom.
- Identify activities, communities, or rewards that can add to your joy and excitement.
If you’re concerned the boredom may be a part or a symptom of a mental health issue, seek advice from a professional.
By Steven J.
Reviewed by: Heather Hemming