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Boredom Can Kill

February 7, 2010

According to new scientific research, boredom could actually kill you.

Researchers say that people who complain of boredom are more likely to die at younger ages, and those who experience excessive moments of monotony are more than two-and-a-half times as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as those who satisfy their brain and body on a regular basis.

The study was conducted on more than 7,000 civil servants over a 25 year period.

Those who actively complained of boredom were nearly 40 percent more likely to have died by the end of the study than those who did not.

Scientists said that those who felt unhappy with their lives often turn to unhealthy life choices including smoking, drinking and over-eating which cut their life expectancy.

The data from 7,524 civil servants between the ages of 35 and 55 who were interviewed between 1985 and 1988, was analyzed by specialists from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London. They then checked figures to see who had died by April 2009.

The report, to be published in the International Journal of Epidemiology this week, was co-written by researcher Martin Shipley, who said: “The findings on heart disease show there was sufficient evidence to say there is a link with boredom.” He added that it was important for people who have dull jobs to find other interests to keep boredom from taking over their lives.

Psychologist Graham Price told Mail Online that it is important to distinguish first if people are turning to drinking and drugs because of boredom, or if they have certain predetermined characteristics that lead them to unhealthy practices. People who are unmotivated in, or by, life, should find ways to change their focus away from themselves and on to other people. That is where inspiration may lie to remove the dullness and tedium from one’s life.

The original survey found that one in ten civil servants had been bored within the past month. Women were more than twice as likely than men to suffer boredom. Younger employees and those with more menial jobs were also found to be more prone to boredom. Those who reported tedious feelings on a regular basis were 37 percent more likely to have died by the end of the study.
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