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Boredom and Death Linked?

Boredom and Death Linked?

Can working in a large government bureaucracy characterized by a high employee turnover rate, group think, outdated technology, risk aversion,  lethargy, apathy, significant incompetence, enormous wasting of tax dollars, staff weight gain, a degree of sadism, and a sort of collective depression, be harmful to one’s health?

There has only been a vague sense that such a lack of fulfillment and continual stagnation could be damaging. But recently a research study came up that seems to corroborate the possibility that being perpetually bored in the workplace could be hazardous to one’s health. British public health researchers studied British civil servants – read government workers – and found there could be a link between occupational boredom and heart disease.

“We also found that those with a great deal of boredom were more likely to  die during follow-up than those not bored at all.  In particular, they were more likely to die from a CVD fatal event…” (Source: Oxford Journals)

The potential connection between persistent boredom and heart disease runs through the unhealthy behaviors people might engage in to make themselves feel something other than boredom, such as overeating, drinking too much alcohol,  and smoking. Depression could also result from remaining in a work situation that is constantly frustrating: because the bureaucracy is so tangled in red tape, the workers can barely ever get anything done, and when they do the results are so insignificant they can reap very little satisfaction. This experience is repeated over and over again for years until they quit, retire or die.

Another potential factor is that the workplace apathy leaves little desire for physical movement so the office staff does almost no exercise during the day, and by the time they get home there is even less interest. Then they turn on the television and wind up sitting most of the evening after sitting all day in the pall of their workplace.

All this sitting, research suggests, is bad for health, “given the consistent links between sedentary behavior and both death and disease, and the ubiquity of sedentary behavior in our society, we should be very concerned about the health impact of sedentary behavior.” (Source: Scientific American)

Image Credit: VeronicaTherese

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32 comments

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4:22PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

I love to get into the classroom and move around and hate to be stuck in the office. I gain weight, feel sluggish, and need to get out and excercise.

9:55AM PST on Dec 7, 2011

Thankyou.....

2:19AM PST on Dec 7, 2011

try chair yoga! you will feel great afterward : ) guess bored to death is literal eh

11:19PM PST on Dec 6, 2011

Prolonged stress causes depression. Bottom line, life causes death.

7:19PM PST on Dec 6, 2011

No surprises here, our emotions influence our health and our existence. If we allow ourselves to be bored, we are not truly living so we become depressed. It is easy to stop boredom, just follow the Nike commercial and "Do It!" In other words, live, pay attention around you, help others, listen to others, communicate, read, meditate; what I am saying here "is there is no excuse for boredom." Don't be bored, live longer.

4:44PM PST on Dec 6, 2011

Boredom is a symptom of not being involved (concerned, interested, engaged) in a situation.

4:35PM PST on Dec 6, 2011

As a slightly differing perspective, it seems to me boredom is a matter of personal choice as well as valid external input! If you have a job as described (as most of us do) then find time to go to the gym with friends (to keep you doing it) and time to read, go to classes or do something that's of interest to YOU!! You are the author of your life and you get to craft how it is for you. Even if eight hours of the day completely SUCK, you still have time to make a good day...

2:04PM PST on Dec 6, 2011

Wow, interesting. I haven't heard about this before. Thanks.

12:48PM PST on Dec 6, 2011

Thank you Scott for truthfully sharing your experience.

12:47PM PST on Dec 6, 2011

The Iraq War alone was unnecessary, and could wind up costing 6 trillion dollars. http://threetrilliondollarwar.org/ That was started by the Bush and Co. using the federal government.

In California, state employees violated rules to collect hundreds of millions in unused vacation time, etc. http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/sdcounty/article_cd8d4091-4c7f-517b-8a79-bd045c843bf1.html

These are just two examples of tremendous wasting of tax payer dollars.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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