I had the ironic experience of watching a documentary called “Boredom“, which was anything but boring. Usually I reserve movie references for my other blog, Scribbling in the Sand, because it focuses on writing and movies (and writing movies). It made me think of MS, though, so it’s here.
(It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a movie gave me an insight into MS. It seems as though there are MS references everywhere. That says a lot more about me than it does about the times we live in. Lucky you are the beneficiary of my quasi-obsession.)
The most fascinating factoid I picked up from the film was that, when a person reaches a truly supreme level of boredom – say when one is watching a Super Bowl half-time show or reading a “terms and conditions” message when installing software (which I realize no one does for that very reason) – his body releases cortisol. If you know anything about hormones (NB: I don’t, but I read up on it) you know that cortisol is also released in high-stress situations.
Interesting, huh? Who would have thought the human body treats boredom the same way it treats stress?
Taking this a bit further, let’s think about what we know about stress. In my experience, and that of a lot of others as well, stress wreaks havoc on MS. In my case, I can pinpoint the exact stressful situation that has triggered each of my MS exacerbations. I never considered the possibility that boredom could have had the same effect on me.
And that’s the problem. As interesting as MS is to doctors, scientists, and some media mavens, living with MS can be as boring as political advertising. The range of activities people with MS can participate in is limited by the severity of their condition. Therefore, the potential for mind-numbing boredom becomes that much greater.
How’s this for a potential equation:
Boredom == stress == worsening MS
It’s not science, just conjecture. But from what I’ve heard from the MS experts, conjecture seems to be an acceptable scientific approach, so I’ll go with it. Let’s attack boredom and see what it does. Even if the equation above isn’t entirely accurate and it doesn’t affect the course of our disease, what’s wrong with eliminating a little boredom in our lives?
First of all, I agree with G. K. Chesterton that there’s really no excuse for being bored. He puts it this way:
There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.
To help you out, here’s Dr. Rick’s boredom prescriptions:
- Get outside! Look at the world. Can there be anything more interesting than the wonders of creation?
- Participate in some form of physical activity that you enjoy. I think I already beat that extinguished equine here and elsewhere.
- Read my blog!
- Read my other blog!
- Join an MS support group.
- Go out for coffee with your MS friends at an accessible coffee house like True North Coffee Cafe or The Java Room.
- Here’s a win-win: Drop your TV out a window, hopefully 2nd floor or higher. That’s adding exercise and eliminating a prime source of boredom.
- Read Yvonne’s blog… and buy her book. (One good turn…)
- Create something: a painting, a sculpture, a story, a joke, a photograph, a blog, or (if you’re really bored) a list of things that will relieve boredom.
- Get to know Jesus.
You can probably think of many more, a la #9 above. So go ahead. What’s stopping you from doing that or anything else to relieve your stress/boredom?
It might not help, but it couldn’t hurt.