You may be bored, but do you have the healthy type of boredom? Or the type that may harm or even kill you?
Boredom is increasingly being linked to a range of health problems. And psychologists have come to believe there is more than one type — some suggest that there may be as many as five.
Emerging research shows experiencing the 'wrong' sort of boredom can make us obese, self-destructive, and sexually impotent. It may also lead us to earlier death.
But the right type can foster positive traits such as creativity, resilience and happiness.
Oddly, it seems that the way to get 'healthily bored' is to embrace tedium. But most of us would rather electrocute ourselves than suffer boredom, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Research last year.
Sixty-nine volunteers were placed in a lab environment where nothing happened for 15 minutes at a stretch. But the volunteers could use lab equipment to give themselves electric shocks.
The more bored they were, the more likely they were to give themselves shocks — increasingly intense ones at that, say the Maastricht University investigators.
More commonly, when bored, we are prone to gorge on fattening snacks, according to a study involving the universities of Kent and Southampton.
Psychologists asked 140 people to record their food intake and moods, and do lab tests to monitor their eating.
They not only ate more calories when bored, but were most likely to eat junk food high in fats, carbs and protein, reported the journal Frontiers In Psychology, in 2015.