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Interesting Article on Why We Get Bored
Old 05-03-2009, 01:46 PM   #1
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Interesting Article on Why We Get Bored

I was tired and bored on a Sunday, so I surfed the net about my favorite day dream: cruising. I found this article Proafile | Cruising Blues and Their Cure that is applicable not just to sailing but also to any dream activity that you think is beyond your grasp (ER anyone?) that will make you happy as a clam soaking in tropical water for ever and ever. Here is a quote from the article:

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The same is true of cruising. You can see just so any beautiful sunsets strung end on end, just so any coconut palms waving in the ocean breeze, just so many exotic moonlit tropical nights scented with oleander and frangipani, and you become adjusted. They no longer elate. The pleasant external stimulus has worn out its response and cruising depression takes over. This is the point at which boats get sold and cruising dreams are shattered forever. One can extend the high for a while by searching for new and more exciting pursuits, but sooner or later the depression mechanism must catch up with you and the longer it has been evaded the harder it hits.

It follows that the best way to defeat cruising depression is never to run from it. You must face into it, enter it when it comes, just be gloomy and enjoy the gloominess while it lasts. You can be sure that the same mechanism that makes depression unavoidable also makes future elation unavoidable. Each hour or day you remain depressed you become more and more adjusted to it until in time there is no possible way to avoid an upturn in feelings. The days you put in depressed are like money in the bank. They make the elated days possible by their contrast. You cannot have mountains without valleys and you cannot have elation without depression. Without their combined upswings and downswings, existence would be just one long tedious plateau.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:01 PM   #2
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"The days you put in depressed are like money in the bank. They make the elated days possible by their contrast. You cannot have mountains without valleys and you cannot have elation without depression. Without their combined upswings and downswings, existence would be just one long tedious plateau."

Perhaps most of us want to be in the stock market for the same reason. Financial life would be boring with nothing to look forward to, if all we have is an annuity.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:02 PM   #3
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Yes, good article. For me, the answer to boredom is finding new challenges. I think the reason many cruisers give it up, as in the article you mentioned, is that they lose the sense of challenge. I sail a lot, but don't cruise very much for that reason. I prefer racing and do it weekly in the summer. It doesn't matter if I win or come in last, it keeps me going because it's always a challenge. Same with golf, a sport I'm terrible at, but that's good because it's a constant challenge. I'm constantly looking for new challenges, be it courses I can take, new hobbies, learning new things, and it's the only way I know to avoid boredom.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:12 PM   #4
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Yes, good article. For me, the answer to boredom is finding new challenges. I think the reason many cruisers give it up, as in the article you mentioned, is that they lose the sense of challenge. I sail a lot, but don't cruise very much for that reason. I prefer racing and do it weekly in the summer. It doesn't matter if I win or come in last, it keeps me going because it's always a challenge. Same with golf, a sport I'm terrible at, but that's good because it's a constant challenge. I'm constantly looking for new challenges, be it courses I can take, new hobbies, learning new things, and it's the only way I know to avoid boredom.
Sooo where ya is where ya at. Get an old truck - down the hill and across the river to Kansas and join the storm chasers. It's tornado season on the plains! Whoopee.

That'll beat depression every time.

heh heh heh -
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for a great article, I am a sailor so it really resonates with me. At least I've always known I did not want to be a full time cruiser.

And like NW-Bound noted, think how thrilled we will all be when the markets are turning in relatively steady gains again...
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It follows that the best way to defeat cruising depression is never to run from it. You must face into it, enter it when it comes, just be gloomy and enjoy the gloominess while it lasts. You can be sure that the same mechanism that makes depression unavoidable also makes future elation unavoidable.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:25 PM   #6
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Maybe it's different for sailors, but I think depression is caused by more than boredom. I also wonder about the science behind this statement:

Quote:
....sooner or later the depression mechanism must catch up with you and the longer it has been evaded the harder it hits.
Not everyone is susceptible to "the depression mechanism" (whatever that is). And being gloomy and enjoying the gloominess might not be the best approach to treating depression.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:29 PM   #7
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Sooo where ya is where ya at. Get an old truck - down the hill and across the river to Kansas and join the storm chasers. It's tornado season on the plains! Whoopee.

That'll beat depression every time.

heh heh heh -
Chasing a tornado? Might beat depression but would get me into mania, so then I'd have to fight manic depression
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:35 PM   #8
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Recently, there have been articles suggesting that each person has a certain natural state of happiness, or gloominess if one prefers to look at it that way. Unexpected events can perturb a person's state of mind off her natural set point for a while, then she would drift back to her own neutral point.

I believe there is quite a bit of truth in it. I often feel like the main character played by William Hurt in the movie "The Accidental Tourist", who shunned attempts of the perky Geena Davis to cheer him up. As long as it does not descend into clinical depression, some people are perversely "happy" to be gloomy. Does this make sense to anybody?
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:37 PM   #9
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Maybe it's different for sailors, but I think depression is caused by more than boredom. I also wonder about the science behind this statement:



Not everyone is susceptible to "the depression mechanism" (whatever that is). And being gloomy and enjoying the gloominess might not be the best approach to treating depression.
I don't think the guy is a doctor or psychiatrist. What he calls depression is more like ennui rather than clinical depression. I have experienced the boredom in a lot of the activities I used to pursue with gusto be it cycling, martial arts, finance, or engineering.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:45 PM   #10
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As long as it does not descend into clinical depression, some people are perversely "happy" to be gloomy. Does this make sense to anybody?
Unfortunately, it makes sense to me.

Ha
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BunsGettingFirm View Post
I don't think the guy is a doctor or psychiatrist. What he calls depression is more like ennui rather than clinical depression. I have experienced the boredom in a lot of the activities I used pursued with gusto be it cycling, martial arts, finance, or engineering.
I understand--sorry to overcomplicate it. I just spent some time last week with someone who is clinically depressed and managing it is a lot of work for him (and "enjoying it" was suicidal for him), so I'm too touchy today.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Recently, there have been articles suggesting that each person has a certain natural state of happiness, or gloominess if one prefers to look at it that way. Unexpected events can perturb a person's state of mind off her natural set point for a while, then she would drift back to her own neutral point.

I believe there is quite a bit of truth in it. I often feel like the main character played by William Hurt in the movie "The Accidental Tourist", who shunned attempts of the perky Geena Davis to cheer him up. As long as it does not descend into clinical depression, some people are perversely "happy" to be gloomy. Does this make sense to anybody?
I wrote about something similar a while back (last summer?): miserable had been my normal state for so long that after retiring I had to figure out how to be happy.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:07 PM   #13
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A bit of gloominess is good, in my view. It keeps you pensive, and not hopping around agitated like the young folks (and some not so young) I see on the road everyday with loud rock music blaring from their car stereos.

But "misery" like Khan described is a bit too much. Like spices on food, you can have too much of a "good" thing.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:09 PM   #14
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As long as it does not descend into clinical depression, some people are perversely "happy" to be gloomy. Does this make sense to anybody?
We know some people who don't seem happy unless they can be miserable and spreading their misery to others with their attitude. I can't relate.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:11 PM   #15
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Tell them to keep it to themselves!
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:19 PM   #16
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:42 PM   #17
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I hope you did not mind when I posted some melancholic or sad love songs. You could just skip them, right?
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:45 PM   #18
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I have never let happiness cheat me out of the sheer joy of whinning.

heh heh heh - of course nobody takes me serious - have this trouble keeping a straight face.
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:25 AM   #19
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You can see just so any beautiful sunsets strung end on end, just so any coconut palms waving in the ocean breeze, just so many exotic moonlit tropical nights scented with oleander and frangipani, and you become adjusted. They no longer elate. The pleasant external stimulus has worn out its response and cruising depression takes over.
Sorry, I disagree.

Every day I see a different sunrise, and every evening I'm wowed by a different sunset.

Of course it's possible that I got behind the curve during all those years of seeing them through a periscope. But even after 20 years in Hawaii I still can't help marveling at the colors & patterns.

Same thing with boredom. Work was never boring to me-- if someone thought it was boring then that meant they'd overlooked something about to make it very exciting. And ER has been even more interesting than work. But of course it's only going on seven years.

Maybe I'll revisit this question in 50 years...
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:58 AM   #20
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I don't believe depression is inevitable in any enjoyable pursuit. It just doesn't happen for too many people - think golfing, biking, surfing (Nords), music. I think there is a grain of truth here that pertains to trying to turn an avocation into a vocation or otherwise pursing an enjoyable pastime on a full time basis. Many of us will get sick and tired of doing something all of the time that we enjoyed doing some of the time. It strikes me that if sailing full time takes the fun out of it the answer would be to sail part time so you continue to enjoy it rather than settle for a life of boredom.
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