Everyone knows what it's like to be bored. (And it's terrible, right?) But what exactly does it mean?
Scientists from York University set out to find out what boredom truly means -- and they found that it has a lot to do with our attention. Their findings, published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, can be boiled down to a few main points:
One: We can't summon the focus to pay attention to what's going on inside of us -- like what we're thinking or how we're feeling -- or outside of us -- like what's happening in our surroundings. And that inability to focus makes it hard to participate in something not-boring.
Two: We know we can't pay attention.
Three: It's not our fault that we can't pay attention -- we pin it on our circumstances.
Past research has shown that boredom is not particularly good for us -- a 2010 study in the International Journal of Epidemiology showed a link between increased boredom and risk of dying earlier, USA Today reported.
So the next time you're bored, try doing one of these exercises that could not only keep your attention, but also potentially lengthen your lifespan: