How much can’t people stand boredom today?
Facts have proved that humans in the 21st century would rather harm themselves than endure boredom.
This fact is proven by such an experiment – in 2014, researchers at the University of Virginia asked a group of experimental participants to stay alone in a room for 6 to 15 minutes, doing nothing, and trying “Entertain yourself with your own thoughts,” and then ask them how they felt during this short period of time and whether they were happy.
The experiment was first conducted in a university, and then expanded to other places, other ages, and other identities. It was conducted 11 times in total. It was found that no matter where it was, whether it was the elderly or children, Whether you are poor or rich, everyone is the same, very unhappy. And in order to better understand how unhappy and difficult this short quarter of an hour was, one of the experiments even included an electric shock option.
In this experiment, an electric shock button was installed in the empty test room. When you really have nothing to do and can’t bear it, you can at least do one thing, and that is to choose Press it and give yourself a little electric shock.
Before the experiment, many people received the same electric shock as a reference. Although it was a weak electric shock, it still hurt. Everyone said, “I would rather spend money than Give me another shock like this.” However, after the experiment started, everyone quickly slapped them in the face. 2/3 of the men and 1/4 of the women finally pressed the button at least once. One of the men even pressed the button 190 times. It’s unclear whether he was bored or addicted to electric shocks. Professor Timothy Wilson, who led the research team, said: “I’m not sure what happened to him…”
Ignore this particular phenomenon. At this point, the experimental conclusion is actually obvious. Everyone hopes to have something to do at hand, anything will do. There must be something to grab our attention. , let yourself have a goal. Otherwise, the body, which always wants to do something, and the brain, which is always restless, can only stay in the “itching” air together. This kind of pain is probably more unbearable than an electric shock.
Why can’t we stand boredom?
First, let’s re-examine what “boring” is.
If we look closely at “boredom”, it is difficult to give a simple definition, because it may include a variety of psychological states – frustration, apathy, depression, indifference, etc. It may be a dull, monotonous mood, a low-energy state without any interest, or a feeling of not caring about anything and not caring about anything. However, the definition of “boredom” is not so narrow. After asking some people about their boredom experiences, Thomas Goetz and his team at the University of Konstanz in Germany also defined a kind of boredom with a positive meaning, that is, “indifferent” “Indifferent boredom” refers to not participating in anything that can give people a satisfying feeling, but still feeling relaxed and calm.
Assuming that the definition of “boredom” is so rich, why do modern people still seem to be unable to tolerate the state of boredom? Some people may even feel a sense of psychological instability or discomfort just by looking at the word “boring”.
Faced with boredom, it is easier for us to subconsciously use various methods to make up for the various experiences caused by boredom. For example, you can think back to the times when you were commuting on the subway, at boring work, at uninteresting dinners, in the middle of the night with insomnia, in the many gaps when you didn’t want to do anything, and in the occasional lot of time when you had nothing to do. … Do you also constantly pick up your mobile phone to catch up on TV dramas, check Moments, play games, memorize vocabulary, etc.? In short, we will never let ourselves be idle. In our perception, leisure always implies a kind of “sense of loss”.
Canadian psychologist John Eastwood believes that the core characteristic of boredom is the failure to use the “attention system”, so once you are bored, you cannot calm down and focus on anything. , which makes time extremely long.
Furthermore, when you try to do something to improve this mood, you may get worse results. For example, due to your inability to concentrate when you are bored, it will bring about the irritability and frustration of “ accomplishing nothing ”. If you feel this way again and again, it may eventually lead to you no longer knowing what to do, not wanting to do anything, and not wanting to care about anything anymore.
Eastwood’s team is also studying why we can’t make the “attention system” work well when we are bored. This research is still in its early stages and there are no more conclusions yet, but they believe that boredom is related to Personality may have some correlation. For example, people who need to be happy as motivation may be more likely to feel bored, and people who lack curiosity may also be more likely to feel bored.
Further down the line, people who are more likely to feel bored may also have an impact on their learning status, work status, and other life development.
However, Eastwood also made another discovery, which is that when a group of teenagers are also in a state of boredom, those who try to distract themselves and “escape boredom” by eating snacks, watching dramas, and playing social software Teenagers who are bored are more likely to become restless than those who try to “adapt to boredom.” In other words, even if we don’t welcome boredom, we still need to face it instead of passively escaping it, because boredom is something that “eats soft rather than hard”.
Sorry, I’m too tired
Going back to the previous 11 experiments on enduring boredom, although the researchers said that the fact that people cannot stand boredom does not necessarily prove to be the state of modern people in the Internet age. It may be the nature of human beings, but Note that modern life is undoubtedly exacerbating this experience of “unbearable boredom.”
Precisely because modern life is so rich, we have all developed the habit of using mobile phones that are always online, entertainment programs that can be watched at any time, takeaway snacks that are always available, or other Anything that can stimulate your mind to combat boredom.
Such consequences will undoubtedly only deepen our “discomfort” with boredom, make us more easily bored, and require stronger and stronger stimulation to arouse excitement.
There is another very important reason. Under the constant encouragement of various “life mentors” and social concepts that emphasize fast pace and the need to make good use of fragmented time, who dares to stop rashly? Pace, who can endure the stagnant blankness?
Even when you want to be lazy for a moment, you may still be urged by all kinds of positive “positive energy” on the Internet – Hey, don’t waste your time, those People who are better than you are still working hard!
Last April, a 7-minute video was released on Youtube, The one thing only 1% of people do (something only 1% of people can do), and the number of views was as high as 10 million. This video was later moved to Station B, with the title changed to “99% of people don’t know what true self-discipline is”, and the number of views reached nearly 830,000.
The ability to achieve such unparalleled playback volume stems from its super inspirational nature. In the video, Will Smith’s passionate speech emphasizes that only 1% of people can enter the paradise of their dreams, and 99% of people are unwilling to bear the price of their dreams. Only the 1% of people are not “wasting time.” “, learned true self-discipline and so on.
Self-discipline and using fragmented time to work hard are of course an extremely “useful” good thing, but the problem is that we cannot avoid such a realistic feeling at the same time – too tired.
In the noon story “Boys are tired, girls are tired, everyone is tired”, netizen @ Mustard Flavor Little Porridge wrote:
“When I looked back on this year a while ago, I found that I didn’t have anything to put on my resume, but I buried a lot of my health in it. Sometimes when I see the messages sent by my mother, I feel cautious He asked me if I had finished get off work, and my eyes suddenly turned red.”
“My parents and family cherish me so much, and what kind of job makes me consume myself like this? When I open social networks, they encourage me to use my spare time to study and struggle. I’m so self-conscious, I think, I’m already very tired and sleepy every day to deal with work matters, and it’s really boring to have to criticize me like this for not making good use of my time.”
The above two examples actually just want to illustrate that the misfortune of modern people begins here:
On the one hand, most young people are actively or passively divided into two extremes – either extremely decadent and willing to be salty fish. They come back from overtime every day and do not want to do anything serious. I want to lie down and scroll through my phone and enjoy simple happiness; or I have not given up and still have a beautiful imagination for the future, but I am constantly depleting myself bit by bit.
On the other hand, the so-called fast pace and fragmented time are actually not suitable for the way the human brain works.
Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin explains that every time our attention shifts from one thing to another, the brain undergoes a neurochemical switch and uses up the brain’s stored nutrients. . Therefore, when we do four or five things at the same time, our brains are not really doing four or five things at the same time. Instead, our brain neurons quickly switch from one thing to another, quickly and continuously. Use up neural energy, but our energy is limited.
This somewhat explains why we always feel tired when we get home from get off work. Even if we have a lunch break during the day and have time to “fish”, we still feel like paralyzing as soon as we get home. , don’t want to do anything.
If your mobile phone is an Apple mobile phone, or has an app that counts mobile phone usage frequency, you might as well take a look at your screen usage time. You may be surprised by your own data – it turns out that one day I did the action of picking up and putting down my phone more than 100 times, or even 200 times.
The total time I spend on my mobile phone is as long as five, six or seven hours, which is equivalent to half of the time I am awake staring at the glowing screen.
The most painful but common vicious cycle nowadays is “tired but insomniac – picking up the phone – even more insomnia”. Netflix CEO once said that our biggest competitors are Facebook, Youtube, and sleep. The competition among Internet technology companies is said to be based on whose interface design is more beautiful, the interaction is better, the content is better, and the service is better, but in essence, it is still about who can compete for more of your attention, and whoever is the winner is .
When the glass mirror screen with a black background is like a black hole, endlessly sucking in your time, your physical strength, and your attention, you know that while you are losing the freedom to sleep, you are also losing the freedom to sleep. What happened?
Being in a daze may not really be a bad thing
If we put the fragmented time, the time scattered on various things that seem useful but actually don’t matter, and pile them back together, go into a daze, and let ourselves fall into the endless wandering. In your boring reverie, what do you think will happen?
British psychologist Sandi Mann said: “We are all afraid of boredom, but in fact it can cause all kinds of surprising things.” In modern society, boredom may be a problem for us It’s indeed unbearable, but try to understand “boredom” from another perspective – it can be a simple blank state. When you start to be in a daze, daydream, and let your thoughts wander freely, your brain activity actually deviates a little from your waking consciousness and leans closer to your subconscious. At this time, various associations are created in your brain. If you know how to enjoy this process, it is absolutely a wonderful thing.
Writer Han Bingzhe wrote: “If sleep is the highest form of physical relaxation, then deep boredom is the ultimate state of mental relaxation… Only the concentration of contemplation can interpret suspended things, Something that is hidden or fleeting. Only by staying in contemplation can one enter a long, calm state.”
In other words, occasionally being lazy, dazed, and daydreaming is not only not a bad thing, but it may also be a good thing for relaxing and improving your brain. Because when we really start to focus on our reverie, we may look back on our past, record some important moments in the past, and add our own narration; we may imagine what the future will look like, and then list some things we want to do. , know what to do next; we may even suddenly figure out some problems that have been confusing for a long time.
Recall the film processing manager in the movie “Daydreamer” who can “empty” at any time to dream of a hero. In the end, he really walked out of the magazine where he had worked for 16 years, and from then on Embark on a thrilling journey into the icebergs and snowfields.
Maybe all his daydreams are his subconscious reminding him that you can change your life in this way. For another example, we all think that innocent children are the most imaginative. Is it actually because children have the most time and are most willing to spend time in daze, trance, and fantasy?
This is like “Amélie”. As a child, Emily grew up in an extremely lonely, boring, and depressed family. Her only childhood friend was a sperm whale. The little goldfish found it unbearable in such an atmosphere, and even suffered from neurasthenia, and jumped out of the water tank several times to commit suicide. But Emily is different. She created her own whimsical world out of extreme boredom, and in the future, she will use her whimsical ideas to heal many other lonely people.
It is understandable that when we are busy and tired of our own work and life, what spare energy do we have to seriously think about those equally important things outside ourselves? For example, there are urgent environmental issues, such as the increasingly prominent gap between rich and poor, such as cultural differences that can easily lead to conflicts, and such as the recurring violence. It is difficult for us to be willing to pay attention to something other than ourselves, to understand as much as possible, to listen to different voices, let alone to have our own independent thinking.
But no matter what, at least, please be wary of becoming the stupid “majority”. Our current situation is like this: the convenient and vast information environment has given us a free space for discussion. Many things should be in line with the law of getting clearer with more debate, but strangely, we do not seem to have discussed more true knowledge, but instead gave birth to new ideas. More superficiality and anti-intellectualism.
Therefore, you might as well give yourself a little more humanistic care, press the pause button amidst the intensive pace of life and information stimulation, pick up the fragments of time from the distractions, and let your brain disperse freely. Take a step and daydream. Perhaps only in this way can we have clear “sight” and see both our direction and our environment clearly.