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Surprising Science

Study: Being Bored Can Be as Stressful as Being Overworked

There are many misconceptions about the nature of stress. Perhaps most notable among these misconceptions is that stress is always bad for you. In fact, some research suggests that a little stress in one's life leads to greater health.

No doubt we’ve all felt the frustrating exhaustion that comes with being overworked. Sleep gets sacrificed. Patience wears thing. Endless tasks surround you like quicksand. In short: stress gets to the best of us when we’ve reached our duty capacity.


But does stress only come from being overworked? Certainly there are other impetuses: poor health, trouble with family, etc. Would you believe though that being underworked could be just as exhausting? According thisstudy, referenced by Alina Tugend in Friday’s New York Times, people can get just as stressed being bored as they are when buried beneath work. That’s because boredom is typically the result of a failed effort to engage with one’s surroundings. The resulting irritation leads itself to mental strain and anxiety. As stressful as it is to be pushed in multiple directions, it’s just as bad to have no direction at all.

Tugend’s article, which is really worth a read, is linked again below. In it, she profiles a number of studies that may change the way you think about stress. For instance, could a little bit of stress actually be healthy for you? Read on below.

Keep reading at The New York Times

Photo credit: Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock


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