What is boredom?
Boredom is a common feeling. Feeling
unsatisfied by an activity, or uninterested in it, can lead to boredom. Boredom may
occur when you feel energetic but have nowhere to direct your energy. It may
also occur when you have difficulty focusing on a task.
Boredom is a common complaint among children and adolescents. In some
cases, they may complain
of boredom when they’re uncomfortable dealing with their thoughts or feelings.
What are the symptoms of boredom?
Boredom is marked by an empty feeling, as
well as a sense of frustration with that emptiness. When you’re bored, you may have a
limited attention span and lack of interest in what’s happening around you. You
may feel apathetic, fatigued, nervous, or jittery.
What causes boredom?
People identify and experience boredom
differently. In some cases, boredom may occur due to:
rest or nutrition
levels of mental stimulation
of choice or control over your daily activities
of diversified recreational interests
perception of time
You or child may become bored while engaged in an activity, due to:
of making a mistake
of the activity for too much time
unable to try new approaches to the activity
Who is at risk of boredom?
Almost everyone experiences boredom from time
to time. Some age groups might experience more boredom than others.
Adolescents frequently experience boredom. While they’re given more freedom
to choose what to do with their time, they’re still learning about themselves
and their interests. Not knowing where to focus can lead to boredom.
How is boredom diagnosed?
Boredom is a normal response to some
situations. And while there are no tests to diagnose boredom, boredom that
lasts for long periods of time, or occurs frequently, may be a sign of
Boredom in children
Symptoms of boredom and depression are sometimes
similar. A bored child may want to be engaged, and may be easily engaged when
you offer something “fun” for them to do, whereas a depressed child may avoid it.
Some children can’t adequately describe their
feelings. Working with a mental health professional and also asking questions
may give you clues about what your child may be experiencing.
Boredom in adults
If boredom is interfering with your ability
to complete necessary tasks, or hampering your quality of life, talk to your
doctor. Your boredom may be related to
depression if you experience the following symptoms:
- feeling hopeless
- feeling sadness
- evading opportunities for
- blaming yourself for your
Your doctor will be able to help you distinguish between boredom and depression
and get you the necessary treatment.
How is boredom treated?
There’s no specific, medical treatment
for boredom. However, there are tons of solutions if you’re experiencing
boredom. For example, you may want to consider trying some new hobbies or other new
diversional activities. Joining a club can be a good way to thwart your
boredom. Reading clubs, hobby groups, or exercise groups are all great places
to start. Joining a community group that organizes activities and outings is
another good idea.
You can help your child cope with feelings of
boredom when they arise. When they complain of boredom, encourage them to
communicate. Address their feelings without questioning the validity of their
feelings. Take time to help them identify the causes of their boredom and find
For the best results:
- Don’t question whether or
not your child “should”
- Avoid responding to your
child’s complaints of boredom with impatience or anxiety.
- Ask open-ended questions to
stimulate their creativity in finding interesting solutions for
- Recognize that your child’s
complaint of boredom may be their way of trying to engage your attention or asking
to participate in an activity.
- Help your child identify any
other emotional issues or feelings that they may be identifying as boredom.
- Help your child find an
engaging activity or one you can participate in together.
If boredom is part of larger issue,
like depression, you’ll need to get treatment from a mental health provider.
Talking to your doctor about your feelings will help them understand your needs
and ensure you get the right treatment.
To help prevent boredom:
- Keep a record of the
circumstances in which you or your child becomes bored. Note the time of day,
place, and activities preceding the boredom, so you can avoid those
circumstances or prepare for possible boredom in the future.
- Make routine tasks more
interesting by adding a unique element. For example, start timing tasks to see
how fast you can do them.
- Combine multiple repetitive
tasks so they can be done together.
- Break larger tasks into
smaller ones, and plan breaks or rewards at key milestones.
- Create a list of activities
to try when boredom strikes. If your child is the one feeling bored, create
this list together.
- Establish a special area
where you or your child can store activities reserved for battling boredom.
- Be prepared to take time
out to work with your child to set up an activity when they’re bored.
What is the outlook for boredom?
Boredom is common in all ages, and some
boredom is unavoidable. However, learning how to deal with boredom at a young
age will develop problem-solving skills that will help in the future.