Science of Boredom

Don’t you just hate it when someone says, they never get bored? I also hate it when someone says, “if you are bored, then you are boring”.

I always strive towards making any situation or conversation as interesting as myself. Fact is, I have understood that to stay in a perpetual state of excitement, one must make every mundane activity as interesting as possible and as different. If you become monotonous then your brain can get stuffed.

In neuroscience, the problem of boredom is actually a chemical one. Chemicals called “opioids” in the brain produce feelings of pleasure. These are also the chemicals that produce a kick when consuming morphine or heroin. Any new experience will always trigger a sensation of “Wow” in the brain thanks to these “opioids”. The human brain is always hardwired to find more of such stimulation. After you have experienced something, anything less than that becomes boring.

You see, neurologically, once you have experienced something, the neurons have responded to this particular piece of data and have learnt a behaviour. By the time they respond to the same stimulus a third time, the opioid hit will not be the same since less neurons fire with each repetition.

While this mechanism is what makes our brain efficient, it is also what makes us crave stimulation and thus boredom is the consequence when we cannot stimulate the brain enough.

Those who tend to be bored throughout their lives usually will drop out of anything they start, change jobs as well or even ditch good relationships.

And for those who like doing a repetitive task, it is all about reducing anxiety associated with new tasks. However, the best way to never get bored is to try new things or approach your daily tasks with variations every single day. Doing things differently on a daily basis will keep you happy and relaxed or in other words, stimulated!