When I read about this link between chronic boredom and earlier death and increased incidence of life threatening disease, it really didn’t surprise me too much. It seems like people who are always bored and don’t know what to do with themselves, or are filling a lot of their time with mindless activities like watching television, don’t have as strong of a will or desire to really “live” as those who only get bored on occasion. Let’s face it, we all get bored and sort of restless from time to time, it’s just if you’re always like that, that’s what makes the difference.
The link between always being bored and death and disease was established through studies that showed the correlation. Researchers believe that it was not simply because these people were constantly bored with their lives which interfered with their potential longevity, but because the actual act of being bored leads to habits that aren’t so healthy. Things like drug abuse, excessive drinking, smoking, and hazardous lifestyles were more prevalent amongst those that reported being bored a lot of the time.
Of course, these riskier lifestyle habits lead to things like heart disease, cancer and other malfunctions of the human body. It’s just way more likely if you have a life that doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of purpose or drive behind it. Also, boredom is heavily tied to depression, and depression is actually pegged as one of the causes behind heart disease.
The thought is that the underlying feelings behind boredom are agression, and the chemicals that cause agression in the body actually do things like elevate the blood pressure and other dangerous levels of hormones in the body. Doing things that you enjoy and that make you feel fulfilled can dramatically increase your likelihood for a longer, more fruitful and healthy life, so if you find yourself being bored a lot, you know it’s time to shake things up, to get excited about life again, and to start really living and experiencing things you like and that make you feel fulfilled. Those are the things that make life worth living, after all!