What Does it Mean to Feel Understimulated?

Under-stimulation is a state of feeling uninspired by outside influences. If prolonged, it can result in boredom, lack of motivation and even depression in those prone to mental illness 1. Under-stimulation can be combated by introducing interesting mental and physical activities into your daily routine and changing your outlook on life.

What is Under-Stimulation?

Under-stimulation refers to the feelings of stagnation, boredom and lack of inspiration that result from not feeling challenged in a given situation 1. Under-stimulation may be primarily physical or mental in nature, but generally refers to intellectual boredom 1.

Causes of under-stimulation can include either a flawed outlook held by an individual, outer circumstances or a combination of the two. It can be fleeting or persisting. Common synonyms related to under-stimulation are boredom, monotony, tedium and dullness 1.

Combating Under-Stimulation

Depending on the causes of under-stimulation, many things can be done to relieve the feelings associated with it. If you’re feeling mentally or intellectually under-stimulated, try changing your daily routine. Small changes such as riding your bike to work instead of driving or trying a new restaurant can help, as can more significant changes such as changing careers or moving to a new city. Spend time with people who challenge your beliefs and encourage you to be your best, and engage in activities you find stimulating or interesting. Learning to play an instrument, speak a new language or otherwise increase your base of knowledge also are remedies for intellectual under-stimulation.

Physical under-stimulation can be relieved by adding new physical challenges to your routine. Changing your workout regimen, playing a new sport or going on an outdoor adventure with friends can help add variety to your everyday life while improving your physical condition and boosting self-confidence.

It is important to realize that not all people and situations are inherently entertaining. Feeling bored or under-stimulated from time to time is normal and reminds us to keep pushing for growth and change. Learning to draw excitement and inspiration from within instead of depending on external factors is the first step to restoring inspiration.

What to Avoid

People who chronically feel under-stimulated are at increased risk for amotivational syndrome, depression and compulsive behaviors. According to PubMed.gov, up to two-thirds of pathological gamblers use gambling as a means of escaping boredom 1. Sensation seekers--people who engage in extreme activities like sky-diving and race car driving--often use these activities as a means of combating under-stimulation as well.

Things to avoid when seeking stimulation include compulsive eating, use of alcohol and drugs and high-risk sexual behaviors. Shopping, gambling and other financially draining activities may temporarily relieve boredom, but can lead to problems in the long term 1. Avoid any activity that puts your life or the lives of others at risk, and work on cultivating patience and self-sufficiency as means of combating under-stimulation.