London, January 15 (ANI): When our lives are filled with routines and monotonous meetings we can all fall victim to the effects of boredom, but researchers have tried to find if boredom is necessarily a bad thing.
In a recent study, psychologists reported that staring into space at work can have a positive effect on creativity by giving the mind a chance to wander, the Daily Mail reported.
Last year, the eminent neuroscientist Baroness Greenfield suggested that boredom is good for children because it encourages them to use their imaginations and develop a sense of identity from having to find things to do.
In his book ‘Boredom: A Lively History’, Professor Peter Toohey of the University of Calgary in Canada says that boredom is linked to the amount of dopamine in a person’s brain.
Boredom’s effects are not limited to creativity – it has implications for your health, too, and can even be harmful.
It increases infections because people who are bored by their job are more prone to ‘underload’ syndrome – the term for a collection of symptoms including depression, headaches, fatigue and recurrent infections.
Boredom has the same effect on the body as stress, raising levels of stress hormones, which has a negative effect on health.
Psychologists at the University of Northumbria found high-fliers are most vulnerable to this because they have perfected their skills and therefore are able to perform their jobs with little stress.
They have more sick days than those without underload syndrome.
Boredom keeps weight off as eating the same thing more than once a week and it will become so familiar you won’t want to gorge on it
It boosts fitness – fidgeting and drumming your fingers on the desk through boredom could have a positive effect on your fitness and weight.
A 2008 study by nutritional scientists at Iowa State University monitored the daily movement patterns of obese and lean women. They found the lean subjects fidgeted more often – in the process burning around 300 extra calories a day.
Boredom triggers depression – an American study found that boredom was linked to low mood. Psychologists at Harvard University tracked the mental states of more than 2,000 people with the help of a mood-tracking iPhone app called Track Your Happiness.
It makes you eat junk food – one in four office workers complaining of ‘chronic boredom’ turn to coffee and chocolate to lighten their day, according to a study by psychologist Dr Sandi Mann at the University of Lancashire.
It’s bad for your heart – people who complain of high levels of boredom are two-and-a-half times more likely to die from heart disease or stroke than those who are satisfied with their lot, researchers at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London reported two years ago.
It eases anxiety – a little bit of tedium can be a good thing, particularly if you are stressed, says Dr Esther Priyadharshini, a senior lecturer in education at the University of East Anglia.
It can help improve memory – when researchers compared how well 40 people recalled details of a dull two-and-a-half minute phone message, they found that those who’d doodled throughout retained more information than those who tried to sit and listen.
Finally, it makes you help others – some bored people feel their lives are so meaningless that it prompts them to get involved in what researchers call pro-social behaviour. (ANI)