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When You Feel Bored for a Long Time, It Can Be a Sign of Depression

When You Feel Bored for a Long Time, It Can Be a Sign of Depression

When someone says they’re bored, what do you say to them?

That they should look for a new hobby? Visit a new place? Find something useful to do?

You probably wouldn’t recommend that they talk to their doctor about depression.

However, feeling bored, uninterested and low on motivation can be a sign of depression, particularly if it goes on for a long time.

But how do you tell normal boredom and depression apart?

Read on to find out.

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Boredom is not as simple as you think it is, it is multi-faceted.

Although you might think of it as a pretty simple feeling, researchers have discovered that there are actually five different types of boredom. [1]

We’ve summarised the different types below.

Indifference: feeling uninterested of anything around you

Indifferent boredom happens when you’re just not bothered. You don’t care much about whatever’s going on around you, and you might be daydreaming, staring into space, or feeling like you’re about to fall asleep. It’s the way you might feel during a particularly dull math class.

Apathy: feeling stuck and helpless to change the situation

Feeling apathetic and uninterested is a type of boredom that often arises from feelings of helplessness. You might experience apathetic boredom if you feel trapped in your life and unable to change your circumstances. This type of boredom is common in high school students [2] and can be a sign of depression.

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Calibrating: feeling unmotivated of the current task

Ever get so bored that you wish you could be doing anything else, but you’re not quite sure what? You’re experiencing calibrating boredom, which often occurs during dull, repetitive tasks.

Reactant: feeling mad and annoyed

Sometimes you’re so bored that you feel angry, frustrated and aggressive. You might snap at the people you’re with or storm out for no reason. This is reactant boredom, and it can be one of the most distressing forms. You might find yourself feeling extremely restless and obsessing over the other things you’d like to be doing.

Searching: feeling you should be doing something else

Searching boredom feels uncomfortable and motivates you to find new activities to make yourself feel better. For example, if you’re bored at home, you might call a friend to go out for coffee.

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Identifying the types of boredom that you experience most often can be really helpful.

You’ll be able to identify the factors that are making you bored, and look for positive changes you could make.

So…how can you tell boredom and depression apart?

It’s important not to jump to conclusions straight away – just being bored doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed.

However, staying vigilant ensures that you can seek treatment straight away if your boredom seems to be a symptom of a more serious problem.

Read on for tips on spotting the differences between boredom and depression in adults and children. [3]

For children, boredom can be easily solved.

When a child is bored, they’ll usually be keen to be engaged in a new activity. For example, a bored child who’s sitting around looking miserable might cheer up the moment you offer to play a game with them, take them to the park, or bake a cake together.

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On the other hand, a child who is bored as a result of depression may not be responsive to activities. They might refuse to take part in play, ask to be left alone, or show little interest in things they normally enjoy.

It can be hard for children to understand their feelings and express themselves clearly.

If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health, it’s always a good idea to speak to a professional.

But for adults, to figure out what’s going on, you need to reflect on yourself.

Some boredom is normal, but when it starts to impact your day-to-day life, it’s time to seek help.

Have you experienced any of the following?

  • Losing interest in hobbies and activities you used to enjoy.
  • Feeling hopeless about your boredom.
  • Being unable to take steps to alleviate your boredom.
  • Not doing important things because you feel so bored.
  • Getting angry with yourself for feeling bored.

Speaking to a medical professional will allow you to get to the bottom of why you feel the way you do. They’ll then help you develop a plan to improve your mental health and decrease boredom.

Boredom isn’t always harmless.

Watch out for key warning signs and seek help immediately if you think you might be depressed.

Reference

More by this author

Eloise Best

Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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Last Updated on March 17, 2020

4 Simple Ways to Make Boring Work Become Interesting

4 Simple Ways to Make Boring Work Become Interesting

Are you bored at work right now?

Sitting at your desk, wishing you could be anywhere other than here, doing anything else…?

You’re not alone.

Even when you have a job you love, it’s easy to get bored. And if your job isn’t something you’re passionate about, it’s even easier for boredom to creep in.

Did you know it’s actually possible to make any job more interesting?

That’s right.

Whether it’s data entry or shelf stacking, even the most mind-numbing of jobs can be made more fun.

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Understanding the science behind boredom is the first step to beating it.

Read on to learn the truth about boredom, and what you can do to stop feeling bored at work for good.

VIDEO SUMMARY

I’m bored – as you’re watching the same film over and over again, even though it’s your favorite one

When you experience something new, your brain releases opioids – chemicals which make you feel good. [1]

It’s the feeling you might get when you taste a new food for the first time, watch a cool new film, or meet a new person.

However, the next time you have the same experience, the brain processes it in a different way, without releasing so many feel-good chemicals.

That’s why you won’t get the same thrill when you eat that delicious meal for the tenth time, rewatch that film again, or spend time with the same friend.

So, in a nutshell, we get bored when we aren’t having any new experiences.

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Now, new experiences don’t have to be huge life changes – they could be as simple as taking a different route to work, or picking a different sandwich shop for lunch.

We’re going to apply this theory to your boring job.

Keep reading find out how to make subtle changes to the way you work to defeat boredom and have more fun.

Your work can be much more interesting if you learn these little tricks.

Ready to learn how to stop feeling so bored at work?

We’ve listed some simple suggestions below – you can start implementing these right now.

Let’s do this.

Make routine tasks more interesting by adding something new

Sometimes one new element is all it takes to turn routine tasks from dull to interesting.

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Maybe there’s a long drive you have to make every single week. You get so bored, going the same old route to make the same old deliveries.

Why not make it a routine to create a playlist of new music each Sunday, to listen to on your boring drive during the week?

Just like that, something you dread can be turned into the highlight of your day.

For other routine tasks, you could try setting a timer and trying to beat your record, moving to a new location to complete the task, or trying out a new technique for getting the work done – you might even improve your productivity, too.

Combine repetitive tasks to get them out of the way

Certain tasks are difficult to make interesting, no matter how hard you try.

Get these yawn-inducing chores out of the way ASAP by combining them into one quick, focused batch.

For example, if you hate listening to meeting recordings, and dislike tidying your desk, do them both at the same time. You’ll halve the time you spend bored out of your mind, and can move onto more interesting tasks as soon as you’re done.

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Break large tasks into small pieces and plan breaks between them

Feeling overwhelmed can lead you to procrastinate and get bored. Try breaking up large tasks into lots of small pieces to keep things manageable and fun.

Try breaking up a 10,000 word report into 1000-word sections. Reward yourself at the end of each section, and you’ll get 10 mini mood boosts, instead of just one at the end.

You can also plan short breaks between each section, which will help to prevent boredom and keep you focused.

Give yourself regular rewards, it can be anything that makes you feel good

Make sure you reward yourself for achievements, even if they feel small.

Rewards could include:

  • Eating your favourite snack.
  • Taking a walk in a natural area.
  • Spending a few minutes on a fun online game.
  • Buying yourself a small treat.
  • Visiting a new place.
  • Spending time on a favourite hobby.

Your brain will come to associate work with fun rewards, and you’ll soon feel less bored and more motivated.

Boredom doesn’t have to be a fact of life.

Make your working life feel a thousand times more fun by following the simple tips above.

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Why People Get Bored

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