Boredom And Depression: Can One Lead To The Other?

By Sarah Fader

Updated December 06, 2018

Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC

For those who are clinically depressed, boredom can pose as a pit of despair as it often gives the saddened brain room to wander and drift into negative thoughts, causing the depression to worsen.

Those who have anxiety and experience long shifts of boredom, are more prone to developing depression than others. This is because they conceal negative thoughts prior to being bored, so when the opportunity of free time arises, they sometimes have no choice but to let their mind wander.


However, others can develop depression whilst being bored for the same reasons. Yet, not all boredoms cause depression.

Existential Boredom and Depression

You can get bored when waiting for someone to pick you up from work, at night when you are supposed to be sleeping, and in between commercials while watching television. However, none of these instances of boredom would be enough to ignite depression, though they can be agitating to those who are already diagnosed with it.

The type of boredom that can be responsible for one's depression is called existential boredom and has been defined by Alex Lickerman in his article "Boredom" as an inability to find anything in life interesting. In this case, having depression can cause existential boredom just as existential boredom can cause depression.

The reason that existential boredom can lead to depression is because those who do not find much to be interested about in life have concluded that life is meaningless.


Refuting Existential Boredom

Saying that life is meaningless is a serious statement that can persuade the mind to pursue suicidal thoughts and actions, but this impression can be refuted by changing one's mindset, which can be done during therapy sessions such as those provided by BetterHelp.

In these sessions, a therapist may point out that everything does in fact have a point, therefore, things can be interesting. Once this point is established between therapist and client, then it can be acknowledged that although the client may not feel that things in life are meaningful to them, it may be meaningful to someone else.


The client begins to understand how each object, activity, or person holds meaning or value to others, and then slowly finds value in these concepts in relation to his or her self.

With this in mind, it may help those who are suffering from existential boredom to interact with others. More perspectives on life can be developed through these interactions, which can help them see just how significant and exciting life can be.

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