It is said that only boring people get bored, but what happens to your brain after a year of ‘enforced’ boredom.
This pandemic has brought out the unusual in all of us. There is a specific monotony in the routine. You are walking around the same block day in and day out, the same chair in the kitchen, the same supermarket even if you go out, the same drive and the list seems endless.
To add to this, are the same worries most of us seem to be going through- ‘Now what?’. We cannot plan any future or look forward to anything as none of us know what is going to happen. Though we have been living through moments considered historical and this will be analyzed in the future, the long and short of this is, that this has been “Monotonous”. Any deviation from the monotony is feared, this can be a “Positive’ result of the COVID-19, or probably, a loss of job and in the worst case scenario, death.
Research has proved that this boredom has affected the mental health of many.
What happens to the mind when you are bored?
When you are bored, the ‘default mode network’ of the brain is activated. This means you turn inward. This might lead to thinking about the future plans for that day, or probably even about a specific event of the past.
Boredom can also be associated with inaction and sleepiness. You need to be aware that boredom is a mix of agitation and lethargy. This is connected to increase in levels of stress hormones and also an increase in the heart rate. Prolonged boredom definitely affects the physical and mental health.
Responses to the boredom can be different. Many tend to eat more when bored, but getting bored also can lead to antisocial sadistic behavior. Many people tend to punish others monetarily for bad behavior.
Research also shows that boredom can be a driver for creativity. Social media has proved this with different people learning to use their time to learn sewing, cooking or even exercising for remaining fit.
Fleeting feelings of boredom is different from chronic boredom. Chronic boredom is linked to negative mental and physical health. Those who are prone to boredom are at more of a risk of depression and anxiety. These people also lean towards drugs and alcohol more.
At present, boredom is recognized as a mental health issue. This pandemic will affect the cognitive health of many. Studies have proved that people, who have lived through natural disasters, have lost their sense of well being and this is not back entirely.
One way to deal with this is to disconnect from social media and the news. You can limit your exposure to the news for around 30 minutes and nothing more. Your brain has the capability to re-route. It is advisable to stay away from the ‘flight or fight’ mode. Keep yourself busy and learn something new or take up a new hobby.