Some people are actually just boring
Boredom: More than just being out of work
Five characteristics seem to play a role, explains John Eastwood:
Physiological arousal: People who get bored easily often show less arousal. Apparently they need stronger stimulation from the environment in order to be interested in something. Adventure seekers who enjoy bungee jumping or skydiving tend to be more bored with everyday situations. (Which does not mean that this applies to all people. Therefore, it is a correlation and not a cause.) In addition, people with a high potential for boredom quickly get used to new situations.
So far it sounds plausible, but it's not that simple. Because in other studies, boredom seemed to be more associated with increased physiological arousal, such as a higher pulse. The explanation for this could be that the excitement helps to find new goals. Scientists are still discussing the reasons for these different findings. It is possible that there is no such thing as “boredom”, but different forms with different characteristics (see also questions 6 and 7).
Attention: If you have trouble concentrating, you get bored faster. Because boredom also means not being mentally involved. This is shown by studies with people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Those who tend to be bored can therefore concentrate less well on a task and show more ADHD symptoms. Which in turn does not mean that everyone with the potential for boredom has ADHD or, conversely, that all people with ADHD get bored quickly - here too the researchers only observed correlations.
Emotions: “Emotions are like a compass that guides us in life,” says John Eastwood. Therefore, it is important to understand your own feelings well. People who cannot assess their emotions, brush them aside or ignore them, are also bored faster. Such people may find it more difficult to find a satisfactory job.
Motivation: Here we can distinguish between two types of motivation. Either we want to feel as much joy or pleasure as possible, or we want to avoid pain or negative feelings. An example from John Eastwood: Let's imagine we want to go on a trip with our partner. If the motivation is pleasure, let's imagine the many possibilities for positive experiences - eating ice cream, buying new clothes, having fun together. On the other hand, we could also focus on possible problems. For example, whether there is too much traffic, we cannot find a parking space or whether it is raining. Both extremes encourage boredom. Because if you are looking for more and more pleasure, you will get tired of normal activities faster. Those who constantly want to protect themselves from negative experiences have a smaller selection of satisfying activities.
Self-control: A good plan for the day or even for life can counteract boredom. This trait is in some way related to attention and focus. If we just live right into the day, we cannot stick to plans well, we are often disorganized, and then there are more situations in which we get bored easily. A structure helps to focus the thoughts on the current activity. Of course, that doesn't mean that every minute has to be planned precisely. Again, it is more about general trends than snapshots.
So these traits correlate with boredom. Whether they are actually the triggers or rather a by-product, how everything is precisely connected and whether one characteristic is more decisive than the others - all these are still unanswered questions.
There are also external factors, says Dr. Sabrina Krauss, Professor of Psychology at the SRH University Hamm, should be considered. For example, what the parents set an example for us, in which environment we grow up, what we learn and, ultimately, what our goal for life is.
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