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Team Kulture

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Vlas Teterin
Vlas Teterin

Beyond Boredom And Anxiety \/\/TOP\\\\

In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time.[1] Flow is the melting together of action and consciousness; the state of finding a balance between a skill and how challenging that task is. It requires a high level of concentration; however, it should be effortless. Flow is used as a coping skill for stress and anxiety when productively pursuing a form of leisure that matches one's skill set.[2]

Beyond boredom and anxiety

In 1987, Massimini, Csíkszentmihályi and Carli published the eight-channel model of flow .[25] Antonella Delle Fave, who worked with Fausto Massimini at the University of Milan, calls this graph the Experience Fluctuation Model.[26] The model depicts the channels of experience that result from different levels of perceived challenges and perceived skills. The graph illustrates another aspect of flow: it is more likely to occur when the activity is a higher-than-average challenge (above the center point) and the individual has above-average skills (to the right of the center point).[16] The center of the graph where the sectors meet represents the average level of challenge and skill across all individual daily activities. The further from the center an experience is, the greater the intensity of that state of being, whether it is flow or anxiety or boredom or relaxation.[19]

Some of the challenges to staying in flow include states of apathy, boredom, and anxiety. The state of apathy is characterized by easy challenges and low skill level requirements, resulting in a general lack of interest in the activity. Boredom is a slightly different state that occurs when challenges are few, but one's skill level exceeds those challenges causing one to seek higher challenges. A state of anxiety occurs when challenges are high enough to exceed perceived skill level, causing distress and uneasiness. These states in general prevent achieving the balance necessary for flow.[31] Csíkszentmihályi has said, "If challenges are too low, one gets back to flow by increasing them. If challenges are too great, one can return to the flow state by learning new skills."[6]

Experimental evidence shows that a balance between individual skills, and demands of the task (compared to boredom and overload) only elicits the flow experience in individuals having an internal locus of control[33] or a habitual action orientation.[34] Several correlational studies found need for achievement to be a personal characteristic that fosters flow experiences.[35][36][37]

In games often much can be achieved thematically through an imbalance between challenge level and skill level. Horror games often keep challenges significantly above the player's level of competency in order to foster a continual feeling of anxiety. Conversely, so called "relaxation games" keep the level of challenges significantly below the player's competency level, in order to achieve an opposite effect.[65] The video game Flow was designed as part of Jenova Chen's master's thesis for exploring the design decisions that allow players to achieve the flow state, by adjusting the difficulty dynamically during play.[66]

Conditions of flow, defined as a state in which challenges and skills are equally matched, play an extremely important role in the workplace.[75] Because flow is associated with achievement, its development may have specific implications for increased workplace satisfaction and achievement. Flow researchers, such as Csikszentmihályi, believe that certain interventions may be performed to enhance and increase flow in the workplace, through which people would gain 'intrinsic rewards that encourage persistence" and provide benefits. In his consultation work, Csikszentmihályi emphasizes finding activities and environments that are conducive to flow, and then identifying and developing personal characteristics to increase experiences of flow. Applying these methods in the workplace can improve morale by fostering a sense of greater happiness and accomplishment, which may be correlated with increased performance. In his review of Mihály Csikszentmihályi's book "Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning," Coert Visser introduces the ideas presented by Csikszentmihályi, including "good work" in which one "enjoys doing your best while at the same time contributing to something beyond yourself."[76] He then provides tools by which managers and employees can create an atmosphere that encourages good work. Some consultants suggest that the experience sampling form (EMS) method be used for individuals and teams in the workplace in order to identify how time is currently being spent, and where focus should be redirected to in order to maximize flow experiences.[77]

In the study "Predicting flow at work: Investigating the activities and job characteristics that predict flow states at work", Karina Nielsen and Bryan Cleal used a 9-item flow scale to examine predictors of flow at two levels: activity level (such as brainstorming, problem solving, and evaluation) and at a more stable level (such as role clarity, influence, and cognitive demands). They found that activities such as planning, problem solving, and evaluation predicted transient flow states, but that more stable job characteristics were not found to predict flow at work. This study can help us identify which task at work can be cultivated and emphasized in order to help employees experience flow on the job.[78] In her article in Positive Psychology News Daily, Kathryn Britton examines the importance of experiencing flow in the workplace beyond the individual benefits it creates. She writes, "Flow isn't just valuable to individuals; it also contributes to organizational goals. For example, frequent experiences of flow at work lead to higher productivity, innovation, and employee development (Csikszentmihályi, 1991, 2004). So finding ways to increase the frequency of flow experiences can be one way for people to work together to increase the effectiveness of their workplaces."[79]

Boredom becomes an issue when it keeps you from completing necessary tasks or decreasing your quality of life. If you have anxiety, you may be more prone to depression after experiencing long periods of boredom. Your boredom could be related to depression if you have the following symptoms:

Boredom can make you feel sad, tired, hopeless, uninterested, irritable, and many other difficult emotions. It can be hard to change your circumstances when boredom has reduced your focus and initiative. If boredom is impacting your quality of life, it may be time to look for support. Consider finding a therapist or psychologist to help you overcome boredom and find purpose and passion in your life.

In our study, hippocampal activity seemed to counteract the experience of boredom. The hippocampus is the core structure involved in the formation and temporary storage of episodic and semantic memories, as well as in spatial navigation (for a review, see Stella et al., 2011). Similarly the precuneus was involved in reduction of boredom. A recent study using EEG source localization found a similar areal associated with the feeling of spatial presence during video games (Havranek et al., 2012). Presence in virtual environments (Baumgartner et al., 2008) is related to flow experience (Csimathkszentmihalyi, 2000; Faiola et al., 2013), which was found to be associated with precuneus activity as well (Klasen et al., 2011). In contrast to our study, the senso-motor network contributed flow (Klasen et al., 2011) and prefrontal networks to activity control in a first person simulation (Havranek et al., 2012), supporting a dissociation of boredom from these constructs. Episodic memory and engagement with the game may counteract subjective experience of boredom.

By whole-heartedly and without judgment welcoming parts of that experience of boredom, we learn the purpose boredom serves and what we truly need. Almost always, emotions from the past need validating, honoring, and to be felt in the body until they fully move through and out. As a person recovers from past traumas and wounds, defenses like boredom are no longer needed.

For extra credit: Work the Change Triangle! Where is boredom on the Change Triangle? If you moved your bored part to the side, what underlying emotions might you be experiencing? Once you name them, can you validate them without judging yourself?

This article describes the development and validation of the Multidimensional State Boredom Scale (MSBS)-the first and only full-scale measure of state boredom. It was developed based on a theoretically and empirically grounded definition of boredom. A five-factor structure of the scale (Disengagement, High Arousal, Low Arousal, Inattention, and Time Perception) was supported by exploratory factor analyses and confirmatory factor analyses of two independent samples. Furthermore, all subscales were significantly related to a single, second-order factor. The MSBS factor structure was shown to be invariant across gender. MSBS scores were significantly correlated with measures of trait boredom, depression, anxiety, anger, inattention, impulsivity, neuroticism, life satisfaction, and purpose in life. Finally, MSBS scores distinguished between participants who were experimentally manipulated into a state of boredom and those who were not, above and beyond measures of trait boredom, negative affect, and depression.

Maybe I'm an extrovert, but I love having conversations with strangers. When sitting at an airport gate or on the back of a supermarket line, I look around at the people around me, try to find something of interest they might be wearing or reading, and just launch into a little conversation. Amazing how many people relish the opportunity to break their own boredom by having a nice chat with someone new (and presumably about something that's important to them like their book, a cherished article of clothing, etc.) 041b061a72


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