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Boredom is a common feeling. Feeling unsatisfied by an activity, or uninterested in it, can lead to boredom. Boredom may occur when you feel energetic but have nowhere to direct your energy. It may also occur when you have difficulty focusing on a task.
Boredom is a common complaint among children and adolescents. In some cases, they may complain of boredom when they’re uncomfortable dealing with their thoughts or feelings.
Boredom is marked by an empty feeling, as well as a sense of frustration with that emptiness. When you’re bored, you may have a limited attention span and lack of interest in what’s happening around you. You may feel apathetic, fatigued, nervous, or jittery.
People identify and experience boredom differently. In some cases, boredom may occur due to:
You or child may become bored while engaged in an activity, due to:
Almost everyone experiences boredom from time to time. Some age groups might experience more boredom than others.
Adolescents frequently experience boredom. While they’re given more freedom to choose what to do with their time, they’re still learning about themselves and their interests. Not knowing where to focus can lead to boredom.
Boredom is a normal response to some situations. And while there are no tests to diagnose boredom, boredom that lasts for long periods of time, or occurs frequently, may be a sign of depression.
Symptoms of boredom and depression are sometimes similar. A bored child may want to be engaged, and may be easily engaged when you offer something "fun" for them to do, whereas a depressed child may avoid it.
Some children can’t adequately describe their feelings. Working with a mental health professional and also asking questions may give you clues about what your child may be experiencing.
If boredom is interfering with your ability to complete necessary tasks, or hampering your quality of life, talk to your doctor. Your boredom may be related to depression if you experience the following symptoms:
Your doctor will be able to help you distinguish between boredom and depression and get you the necessary treatment.
There’s no specific, medical treatment for boredom. However, there are tons of solutions if you’re experiencing boredom. For example, you may want to consider trying some new hobbies or other new diversional activities. Joining a club can be a good way to thwart your boredom. Reading clubs, hobby groups, or exercise groups are all great places to start. Joining a community group that organizes activities and outings is another good idea.
You can help your child cope with feelings of boredom when they arise. When they complain of boredom, encourage them to communicate. Address their feelings without questioning the validity of their feelings. Take time to help them identify the causes of their boredom and find creative solutions.
For the best results:
If boredom is part of larger issue, like depression, you’ll need to get treatment from a mental health provider. Talking to your doctor about your feelings will help them understand your needs and ensure you get the right treatment.
To help prevent boredom:
Boredom is common in all ages, and some boredom is unavoidable. However, learning how to deal with boredom at a young age will develop problem-solving skills that will help in the future.
Written by: Anna Zernone Giorgi
Medically reviewed on: Jun 06, 2016: Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PMHNP-BC
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