What Does Boredom Feel Like?
Boredom, part of life with ADHD, is ‘a transient state of consciousness’ just as attention is a state of consciousness in the moment. Boredom is diabolical for families in summertime and even vacations have a boredom factor (talk to my children). Do you remember the sense of boredom that made your mind feel numb? The boredom of summer TV? Swimming, popsicles, promises of a vacation, trips to the library, and the endless neighborhood games were factors of my 1960’s summers. I was ‘sent outside’ to play and to find my stimulation which fortunately, was safe enough.
21st century families have more to play with and more boredom to deal with, too. Does this Boredom Proneness Scale tell you something about how you manage your interests? Take out your pen to record your scores.
From a new book ‘Boredom: A Lively History,’ classics scholar Peter Toohey shares that in 1986, psychologists designed a test, known as the Boredom Proneness Scale (BPS), as a way of distinguishing between those who suffer transient boredom from those who suffer chronic boredom:
The statements to follow can be answered using a 7-point scale —
’1′ (highly disagree), to ’4′ (neutral), to ’7′ (highly agree).
1. It is easy for me to concentrate on my activities.
2. Frequently when I am working I find myself worrying about other things.
3. Time always seems to be passing slowly.
4. I often find myself at “loose ends”, not knowing what to do.
5. I am often trapped in situations where I have to do meaningless things.
6. Having to look at someone’s home movies or travel slides bores me tremendously.
7. I have projects in mind all the time, things to do.
8. I find it easy to entertain myself.
9. Many things I have to do are repetitive and monotonous.
10. It takes more stimulation to get me going than most people.
11. I get a kick out of most things I do.
12. I am seldom excited about my work.
13. In any situation I can usually find something to do or see to keep me interested.
14. Much of the time I just sit around doing nothing.
15. I am good at waiting patiently.
16. I often find myself with nothing to do, time on my hands.
17. In situations where I have to wait, such as in line, I get very restless.
18. I often wake up with a new idea.
19. It would be very hard for me to find a job that is exciting enough.
20. I would like more challenging things to do in life.
21. I feel that I am working below my abilities most of the time.
22. Many people would say that I am a creative or imaginative person.
23. I have so many interests, I don’t have time to do everything.
24. Among my friends, I am the one who keeps doing something the longest.
25. Unless I am doing something exciting, even dangerous, I feel half-dead and dull.
26. It takes a lot of change and variety to keep me really happy.
27. It seems that the same things are on television or the movies all the time; it’s getting old.
28. When I was young, I was often in monotonous and tiresome situations.
To find out your own proneness to boredom, add up the total of the scores you gave each question. The average score is 99, and the average range 81-117. If you scored above 117, you become bored easily, and if you scored below 81, your boredom threshold is very high.
What is your Boredom score?
Researchers have found that some people have a metabolic proneness to chronic boredom, correlated with neurotransmitter imbalances and higher risks for depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, gambling, hostility, low academic performance, and more. Meanwhile, those who suffer only transient boredom have been found to perform better in various aspects of life, including work, education, and personal autonomy.
‘Boredom is nothing but a message send by your subconscious mind telling you that this thing you are doing now may not be important to you while the state of being interested is nothing more than a message telling you that this thing you are doing might be of importance to you one day.‘ (M. Farouk Radwan, MSC)
Coaching has been shown to be an effective relationship to support your goal achievements and feelings of success, the sure way to decrease your boredom effect. Madame Bouvary wrote, ‘Boredom is, in the Darwinian sense, an adaptive emotion. Its purpose, that is, may be designed to help one flourish.’ Contact Maureen Nolan at email@example.com to use this summer time as success time.
Thanks to Brain Pickings for this Boredom Proneness Scale about the chronicity of boredom.
Your Attention Coach, Maureen Nolan, Atlanta, Georgia, USA