Not all boredom is the same, according to a new study. A team of researchers from Canada, the United States and Europe have identified a type of boredom, called apathetic boredom, that involves the unpleasant feelings of learned helplessness and bears similarities to depression.
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The next time you get bored, grab them and tone your arms. Organize something. Don’t tackle a huge organizational project like your closet. Instead, choose something small and manageable—your underwear drawer, organize your pantry or that overcrowded bookshelf—so you won’t be intimidated. Get rid of things. Do your laundry.
Walk in a new place. Sometimes a change of environment is great inspiration. Walk on a busy street that has lots of stores so you can window shop, or stroll in the park or a mall so you can people watch while you exercise. Borrow someone's dog and take him for a walk. You'll appreciate the company and he'll appreciate the fresh air.
The first type, indifferent boredom, was defined as a low state of arousal and slightly positive emotions, on balance. The indifferently bored feel relaxed and fatigued-but-cheerful. They are generally indifferent to the world and want to withdraw.
The researchers found that people experiencing apathetic boredom reported few positive emotions, but also few negative emotions, unlike reactant boredom. That's not to say the participants enjoyed being apathetically bored — in fact, it was a far more unpleasant experience than calibrating, searching, or indifferent boredom.