Have you been spending your time in quarantine inside the house, lying around on your bed? If so, then, let’s take a high five! We aren’t able to do all the outdoor activities for the sake of our health at this time. As a result, we let time pass by doing nothing but the same thing over and over again. Many of us start to go to social media in an attempt to quell the tediousness, and probably even post things along the line of “I miss my regular classes” to express the extremity of our boredom. However, boredom isn’t something we experience only in quarantine, but also our daily life. The question is, why do we feel bored? And how could it make or break our daily life?
Boredom is a modern problem. Before the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century, there was no exact word in English to express it. Until now, people are still studying the precise button that causes boredom. Professor John Eastwood and his team from York University in Canada, who had been researching it for decades, describe boredom as “The aversive experience of wanting but being unable to engage in satisfying activity” (Eastwood et al., 2012). From the statement, we learn that the internal factor that causes it to arise is the loss of passion. As for the external factor, the environment also takes a big role. For instance, there might be many activities we want to do, but we are unable to do them well, or even at all, due to the pandemic. As the quarantine period goes on, we begin to lose our enthusiasm for the things we do because of environmental restriction.
Monotony is the main cause of boredom. Our daily routines such as waking up, having breakfast, doing homework, and repeating them for weeks and even months, are monotonous activities. While having routines is good, why do we find it dull sometimes? It’s because we have lost the flow that we can only find when we are immersed in our activities. Therefore, we try to find meaning in them. Losing that flow makes us unmotivated and stops us from doing our best. Back in the past, our ancestors could not be bored because they had to hunt for food and live nomadically from cave to cave. There was flow in having to fight animals and adjust to their living conditions as they were dynamic activities and require full focus.
Most people assume boredom is inherently negative. In fact, everyone is conscious when they’re in a boring situation—it’s just a matter of how we deal with it. Throughout history, there were people who dealt with their boredom well and invented great things out of it. In a state of boredom similar to ours right now, about two centuries ago, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, the iconic horror and science-fiction novel. In 1815, Tambora Mountain in Indonesia erupted. Its ash covered the earth entirely and needed three years to cool down. At that time, Mary Shelley was on vacation—which turned boring because she had to stay indoors most of the time. Shelley and her friends competed with each other to make the best horror story. That was how the incredible Frankenstein was created.
Boredom can be powerful, right? We are absolutely able to take everything as an opportunity. It’s undeniable that being trapped in the comfort zone is easy: lying on the bed, scrolling social media endlessly, snacking, or watching our incomplete drama series. But, we also can pass our boundaries and find more fulfilling things to do than just simply distracting ourselves. We are gifted with the ability to do a lot of things and be more creative with our boredom because challenge makes our lives more meaningful. Boredom comes to you now. So, will you face and defeat it?
DeReign, S. (2020, May 15). How Mary Shelley’s boring summer resulted in Frankenstein. College Life. https://www.coursehero.com/college-life/how-mary-shelleys-boring-summer-resulted-in-frankenstein/
Heshmat, S. (2017, 16). Eight reasons why we get bored. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/science-choice/201706/eight-reasons-why-we-get-bored
Littlejohn, A. (2013, October 8). Why do we get bored? Owlcation. https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/Why-Do-We-Get-Bored
Rhodes, E. (n.d.). The exciting side of boredom. The Psychologist. https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-28/april-2015/exciting-side-boredom
Heshmat, S. (2017, 16). Eight reasons why we get bored. Psychology