The Problem: The Negative Effects Of Boredom

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George Harrison once famously said, “The Beatles saved the world from boredom.” Harrison echoes the sentiments of the general populace. Boredom is often mentioned with a negative connotation, and escaping from it makes one’s time worthwhile. But do we completely understand boredom? Boredom is an emotion that is more nuanced than we think it to be. Scientific research into boredom is fairly recent, even though boredom has been depicted in Pompeian graffiti, described in Roman philosophy as a kind of nausea, and documented in Christian tradition as a "noonday demon". Clearly, we humans are not very fond of being bored. A widely accepted definition of boredom is the frustrating experience of wanting but being unable to engage in satisfying activity. Boredom is such a hated attribute of life that researchers are even working on a smartphone that automatically senses when the user of the phone is sitting idle, thus saving the user from enduring boredom. Boredom has been shown to have correlations with substance abuse among adolescents. Adolescents who said they were often bored were 50% as likely to indulge in narcotics than their peers. It has negative effects with regards to alcohol use and smoking. Ennui also affects people’s comprehension skills and makes them irritable. It worsens their outlook on life. Boredom has downsides to being fit. 80% of respondents in a survey said they dropped out of fitness classes because of monotony and boredom. However, in spite of its

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