If you live in a concrete jungle, chances are, you are depressed. The high standards required to live a metropolitan life can put a load of burden on you and then, coupled with a highly demanding job and you’ve got yourself a one-way ticket to stressville.
Studies conducted by psychologists have given fascinating results showing that humans are very much affected by the environment we engage with every day, so much so that it affects our mental health. Here are some explanations by psychologists to show us that boring buildings are indeed harmful to the human mind.
Cognitive Disengagement Or Just Bored
It’s safe to say that nobody favors working in a boxy building with other boring buildings surrounding the area. In fact, an important study done by Ellard discovered that people who are subjected to a bland environment simply becomes bored.
The study involved a small group of participants wearing sensors which recorded skin conductance. When participants felt emotionally excited, the sensors would then be able to tell the researchers.
Ellard took these participants to two kinds of places in East Houston. The first place was a lifeless street with a boring building where Whole Foods was situated and the second place, a block away where restaurants thrived with an ocean of activity.
True enough, participants were measured to be bored while at the Whole Foods building and recorded to be excited when taken a block east from it.
Boredom Creates Stress
The feeling of being bored isn’t simply just seen as one of our pet peeves, it can deal more damage to our mental health than we think. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that after retirement; the tendency of us having dementia is higher. Why? Because boredom causes stress.
Studies done by Psychologists Colleen Merrifield and James Danckert tell us that small doses of boredom can cause stress. In their experiment, participants fitted with electrodes to measure their emotional responses were made to watch three kinds of videos; a sad video, an interesting video and a boring video.
Surprisingly, nothing increased heart rates and cortisol levels (the hormones produced when stress occurs) when the participants were watching the boring video. Can you imagine multiplying that moment by years and years of living in a boxy pigeon hole?
Boring Environments Cause Socially-Induced ADHD
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that can be developed in the young and the old. The telltale signs if one is suffering from it can be seen if he or she is always fidgeting, making rash decisions or having trouble multitasking.
One of the main causes of this disorder is a nonstimulating, boring environment. A house without toys, art or constant stimuli of the senses is a recipe for disaster, or ADHD.
Solution: The Feeling Of Awe
People shouldn’t start moving to a place where there is a barrage of information to process every day like the Las Vegas Strip or Shinjuku to avoid having ADHD. In fact, it might be counter-productive if our environment becomes too saturated with information.
Instead, as suggested by a study done by psychologists, the idea of a “thrill” introduced once in awhile in our lives can help to improve mental health. In the experiment, psychologists presented pictures and videos of awe-inspiring images, such as the Eiffel Tower, to participants. And what the psychologists found out was that the participants became more inclined to make their lives more meaningful and satisfying such as volunteering for a charity and choosing experiences over material possessions.
What Do You Do To Stay Happy?
By taking yourself out of the environment, of course! Taking a vacation to the beach or somewhere very different from your regular environment will keep you sane. And if you can’t change the building that you work in? Why not try having a digital picture frame that flashes pictures of loved ones and the favorite places you love to go when you’re not at work. Having a little thrill and novelty in life might prove to be a life-saving decision.
Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com
|Slate.com: The Generic City
|nature: Why boredom is anything but boring
|Standford Business: Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time and Enhances Well-Being