8 Advantages and Disadvantages of Boredom: Is it Good for Anything?

Boredom is an unpleasant feeling that we tend to run away from. However, it can actually contribute to our emotional well-being.
8 Advantages and Disadvantages of Boredom: Is it Good for Anything?
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 12 June, 2022

Feeling boredom is an unpleasant feeling that we’ve all experienced at one time or another. Sometimes, it can feel like apathy, boredom, and listlessness, and sometimes it can even feel like frustration for not knowing where to direct our energy.

Although we usually try to get rid of this emotion as soon as possible, the truth is that it can bring us certain benefits if we know how to take advantage of it. Therefore, we want to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of boredom.

It’s worth mentioning that not all people have the same tolerance for boredom. For some people, it’s not a major problem, while others frantically need to find something that stimulates them at every moment.

In addition, it’s necessary to differentiate a one-time experience of boredom from the feeling of generalized disinterest during long periods of our life. In any case, these are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this sensation when it comes every now and then.

The disadvantages of boredom

8 ventajas y desventajas del aburrimiento, ¿sirve para algo?
Boredom can significantly affect our performance, as it affects our motivation.

Let’s start with the less positive and more unpleasant aspects of boredom. In this case, we’re talking about the symptoms that we most often perceive and the reasons why we often try to do anything to get rid of this feeling.

Lower performance

Boredom does not only occur when we are doing nothing, but it can also appear when faced with tasks that don’t motivate us and that are monotonous and unchallenging.

If we get bored doing the dishes, there’s no major problem. However, if it’s a personal or work project that causes us such disinterest, we’ll probably end up with mediocre performance and performing below our potential.

A feeling of uselessness and stagnation

For some people, boredom is extremely disturbing because they feel they’re wasting valuable time. These tend to be individuals who don’t allow themselves to rest, who don’t know how to relax, and believe that they have to be constantly productive.

This attitude is, of course, harmful because we all need periods of leisure and rest. However, it’s true that boredom can be a sign of a lack of goals, ambition, and curiosity. Someone with varied interests and eagerness to learn and excel rarely feels such apathy.

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A symptom of stress

As contradictory as it may seem, sometimes boredom is an indication that the person is facing a lot of stress. When there’s some aspect that occupies our mind and worries us excessively, we fail to disconnect from it and connect with the joy of life, gratification, and motivation.

In the same way, even an enjoyable task can be boring if we face it under great pressure. If we have to perform it without sufficient time or resources, a project that initially motivated us can become tedious.

A sign of a possible mood disorder

Finally, if this feeling of apathy and boredom becomes chronic and constant, it’s likely that there’s a mood disorder in the background, such as dysthymia or a depressive episode. These prevent us from finding and enjoying environmental reinforcers and plunge us into a profound lack of interest and an inability to enjoy ourselves.

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The advantages of boredom

8 ventajas y desventajas del aburrimiento, ¿sirve para algo?
Boredom provides an opportunity to find yourself again and change course if necessary.

However, despite the unpleasantness of boredom, boredom can become our ally at certain times. In fact, it allows us to carry out important processes for our personal well-being. Among the main advantages of boredom are the following:

Creativity and curiosity

One of the main advantages of boredom is that it stimulates us to develop creativity and enhance our qualities and skills. In that empty space, we find the opportunity to imagine, create, think differently, and to dare to do something new.

Introspection and contact with oneself

Boredom leaves us alone with ourselves and this is precisely what is so distressing for many people. However, if we dare to seize the opportunity, we can develop a healthy exercise of introspection that puts us in touch with our emotions, our fears, and our desires. This will allow us to get to know ourselves better and understand what we need.

Reflection and goal setting

In line with the above, moments of boredom are also ideal to stop for a moment, recap on what we’ve been doing, and set new goals. While we are immersed in the daily maelstrom, we tend to act like automatons, going with the flow. However, by slowing down for a while we can take stock of our lives and decide what our next steps will be.

Rest and disconnection

Finally, we can’t forget that those moments when we “do nothing” are extremely necessary and valuable. The body and mind need to rest, free themselves from obligations and commitments, and simply recover in order to be able to continue.

Frenetic activity is not healthy for anyone. We all need time for leisure, relaxation, and silence. What some consider boredom is actually an opportunity to release tension and allow ourselves to simply be and enjoy the here and now.

Use the advantages and disadvantages of boredom to your advantage

Now that you know a little more about the advantages and disadvantages of boredom, perhaps your perception of it will change. Maybe from now on you’ll understand that you need a change in your life to regain motivation and reconnect with the most rewarding and interesting aspects of it.

Or perhaps you’ll discover that it’s time to stop and stop demanding constant productivity from yourself. Boredom is not always an enemy; in fact, it’s often a great messenger. We just have to learn to listen to it.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Antón, M. C. (2012). El aburrimiento. Perspectivas en Psicología9(3), 104-109.
  • Barraca, J. (2010). Tratamiento de activación conductual para la depresión (TACD): Descripción, técnicas y aplicación. Prolepsis, Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Castilla y León, 5, 27-39.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.