Not all boredom is the same, according to a new study.
A team of researchers from Canada, the United States and Europe have identified a type of boredom, called apathetic boredom, that involves the unpleasant feelings of learned helplessness and bears similarities to depression.
Apathetic boredom is now the fifth type of boredom identified by researchers, who had detailed four other types of boredom in past studies. The types of boredom are differentiated both by a person's level of mental arousal -- ranging from fidgety to calm -- and by the positivity or negativity associated with that boredom.
The discovery of the fifth type of boredom is based on data from 63 university students and 80 high school students in Germany. The study was led by researchers from the University of Konstanz and the Thurgau University of Teacher Education, and is published in the journal Motivation and Emotion.
Check out the five types of boredom below to find out what kind of "bored" you're experiencing:
Indifferent boredom: People experiencing this type of boredom feel withdrawn, indifferent and relaxed.
Calibrating boredom:People with this type of boredom feel uncertain and are receptive to distractions.
Searching boredom: People experiencing this type of boredom are restless and actively seeking a distraction or change.
Reactant boredom: People experiencing this type of boredom are motivated to leave the situation they're in for a specific alternative.
Apathetic boredom: People experiencing this type of boredom experience learned helpless, similar to depression.
Recently, a Perspectives on Psychological Science study showed that generally, boredom can be pinned to three things: The inability to focus or pay attention, the knowledge that we're unable to pay attention, and the blaming of our inability to pay attention on our circumstances.
There are good and bad sides to boredom, according to past research. One International Journal of Epidemiology study, for instance, showed an association between feeling bored and being more likely to die early from heart problems (though the researchers noted the boredom likely is linked with risky factors like drinking or smoking). On the other hand, a study presented at a meeting of the British Psychological Society Division of Occupational Psychology showed that boredom at work could facilitate creativity, likely because of all that extra daydreaming time.