Getting Bored Easily Might Not Be A Bad Thing After All

People will do almost anything to stave off boredom. In a 2014 study published in Science, experts looked at how people respond to idle time using an electric shock experiment. Participants were offered the choice of sitting alone without their belongings to distract them or giving themselves a shock. Even though most said they would try to avoid being zapped at all costs, two out of three men and one out of four women elected to shock themselves when faced with mind-numbing boredom.


Feeling bored is usually seen as a bad thing. Besides the implications of the famous quote, "Only boring people get bored," boredom can be hazardous to your health. According to Healthline, the unpleasant emotion is associated with heart attack, depression, and destructive behaviors (because when screen time doesn't help, you might be tempted to turn to mindless eating, binge drinking, and other unhealthy habits).

However, there may be hidden benefits to boredom. Here's what it might mean if you regularly find yourself bored with nothing fun to do.

You might've outgrown your old skills and interests

If you're constantly feeling dull and disengaged, your boredom might be trying to communicate an important message to you. "I think boredom gets a bad rap that's not deserved," Erin Westgate, a social psychologist and co-author of the shock experiment, told The Washington Post. She explains that boredom is "linked to a lot of what most of us want out of life, like living a rich, fulfilling, interesting, meaningful life. Boredom is just one sort of helpful signal — maybe unwanted signal — that helps us get there."


One message your disinterest may be trying to relay is that you've outgrown some facet of your life. According to Fast Company, boredom is a tell-tale sign you've mentally moved on from your job, and the same rule can apply to other areas of your life too. If you're bored at work, it may be time to explore a new industry or start actively working toward that big promotion you've been eyeing. Similarly, if you feel bored whenever you hang out with your significant other, it might mean you need to boost your chemistry with new and creative date night ideas (or, in some cases, look for a new partner who shares your interests).

Our brains prefer novelty and challenge, notes Brain World Magazine. Listen to your boredom and don't be afraid to shake things up to reignite your excitement.


Boredom can encourage creativity

Sitting on your bed staring at the ceiling might seem like an unlikely time to come up with a brilliant idea or find the solution to a problem that's been weighing on you, but experts say that's exactly what usually happens. Mayo Clinic Health System posits that boring moments allow your mind to wander and make connections you likely wouldn't have if you were scrolling through social media or absorbed in a podcast.


There's research to back this up too: In a 2013 study presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society Division of Occupational Psychology, participants performed far better in a creative task after doing a boring task first, compared to those who skipped the mind-numbing activity. Researchers believe that passive tasks lead to more daydreaming, which can allow for more creative thinking.

If you're easily bored, see value in it and allow those idle moments to hang around sometimes — especially when you need a shot of creativity.

Your brain is functioning as it's supposed to

Even though boredom is often viewed negatively, in many cases, feeling bored means your brain is chugging along as it should. Of course, not everyone's brains work exactly the same way — there's plenty of variation and neurodiversity that make some people think differently than others. In general, though, boredom can be a positive sign of brain health, per Mayo Clinic Health System. When you experience boredom, your brain adapts and learns to handle breaks between activities. These resting periods are crucial for reflecting, consolidating memories, and processing information.


In other words, without feeling bored, your brain can't perform at its best. That's one reason why memory researcher Sandi Mann believes in embracing doing nothing, especially for those who are constantly plugged into their devices. "We're trying to swipe and scroll the boredom away, but in doing that, we're actually making ourselves more prone to boredom, because every time we get our phone out we're not allowing our mind to wander and to solve our own boredom problems," she told Time. "Our tolerance for boredom just changes completely, and we need more and more to stop being bored." Give your mind what it needs by allowing a little boredom in your regular routine.