Thursday, February 11, 2010

The (killing) power of boredom

When you say "bored to death," be careful. It may be possible.

Scientists Annie Britton and Martin J. Shipley of University College London analyzed the data collected in a survey between 1985 and 1988, of over 7,500 civil servants who were between the ages of 35 to 55, about their level of boredom. They found that 10% of the respondents reported having been bored within the previous month, with women reporting being bored more than twice as often as men. Younger workers and people with menial jobs were also high in the boredom scales.

Then they tracked down how many respondents were still alive in April 2009. Those who had said they had high levels of boredom were 37% more likely to be dead than those who did not report being bored. The bored ones were two and a half times more likely to die of a heart problem. The researchers said the study was preliminary - boredom itself was probably not that deadly. But people who regularly/chronically feel bored are more prone to being unhappy and feeling unmotivated and unfulfilled, and this could lead to the adoption of unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, or drugs.

Christopher Cannon, associate professor of medicine at Harvard and spokesman for the American College of Cardiology, commented that people who were bored would be less likely to have a healthy lifestyle. That made them more vulnerable to a cardiovascular event. If boredom was ultimately linked to depression, heart attacks wouldn't be of much surprise, since depression has long been recognized as a risk factor for heart disease. It's possible that when people were bored, dangerous hormones were released in the body that stressed the heart.

Well... I guess my job is exciting enough!

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