Am I Hungry or Bored?

For as long as I can remember I have been confusing boredom for hunger. I’ve always wondered why that is. Is it because I’m bored and eating gives me the satisfaction of something to do? Is it because boredom and hunger are both associated with negativity and snacking makes me happy? Whatever the reason, I want to find out how to put an end to it.


One possible reason for eating when you’re bored is that your body is craving dopamine. If you had a positive experience eating a certain food (which I’m sure everyone has) then I’m sure we’ve all gone to eat that same delicious food even if we weren’t really that hungry. The same thing goes for hunger and boredom. If you’re bored and you go to get a snack even though you just ate dinner an hour ago, it’s probably because your body is craving the sort of pleasure that it felt before when you ate the food. Although the reason for going to get a snack when you’re bored may be because you want to feel the satisfaction of eating the food, it may not feel or taste as good as you’d hoped considering you were never hungry in the first place.

Man standing looking at contents of fridge

A study¬†was done to test if people eat when they’re bored in order to escape the boredom or in order to experience the satisfaction of eating something delicious. There were 30 participants and during the first experiment they were given a bowl of M&Ms and forced to watch a documentary for an hour. In the second experiment they were allowed to give themselves a slightly painful electric shock while watching a documentary. Surprisingly, in both experiments the subjects not only ate the M&Ms, but also purposely shocked themselves multiple times. This shows that the reason people eat when they’re bored is most likely due to their want to escape their boredom.

Since the correlation between hunger and boredom does not have to do with the satisfaction of eating, if you have problems with eating when you’re bored like I do, try these tips.

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5 thoughts on “Am I Hungry or Bored?

  1. Derek William Drotman

    I am one of those people that eats when they are bored but I can’t always say it is due to boredom. I honestly really like food and when I am not busy and have the chance I eat. I decided to do more research and I discovered people don’t always eat out of pure boredom. Sometimes they do it to be social, others because it is free so they take this opportunity to enjoy a free meal, and another interesting time is when the clock says so. This means they wakeup and eat because it is something that is in their routine and they do it everyday. Here is a list of 10 reason you eat even if you aren’t hungry.

  2. Alyssa Marie Frey

    I really enjoyed reading this post and can totally agree with eating when I’m bored. I personally love food and I think sometimes I just like the taste of something and am not actually hungry. I am almost always snacking when I am doing homework and studying which shows how I eat when I’m bored. It’s also interesting to notice that usually when I’m busy with some type of event or activity, I do not even think about my hunger. As humans, we eat when we feel different emotions in order to feel better such as ice cream when we’re sad. Your blog was very strong but I think you could maybe point out what the variables in the experiment (dependent and independent).

  3. Alex Felton

    My mind was blown when you mentioned the shock trial. I never thought people would actually escape boredom by purposely shocking themselves. The M&M’s at the movies could not be more relatable. So often I have eaten a whole bag of candy during the boring previews without even realizing it. This made me wonder if bored eating was related to stress eating since your mind tends to wonder when bored…
    This article related emotional eating to being bored:

  4. Wencong Wang

    When I get bored, I usually do not eat food. Because, I did not really like to eat snacks in my life. I just eat regular food everyday. I do not know why boredom have correlation to eat. I am not sure if this is causal between eat and boredom. From my perspective and my experience, I do not think there are any correlation between this two. When I get bored, I just go chat with my friend, or watch some drama to fullfill my boredom. Maybe it is because I do not have the habit to eat besides the regular time of meal. Also, I found a article to help people to reslove the boredment. This article came up five ways to overcome boredom. Hope it can helps you to overcome the boredom and quit from the bad habit.

  5. Olivia Helen DeArment

    I am so guilty at bored eating. It gives me something to do rather than just simply satisfying hunger. It is a bad habit that is addicting, especially when its available or when you’re with friends in my opinion. This can cause a lot of negative effects to the body adding extra pounds and calories that are not necessary. I had some questions pertaining to this topic: Are individuals who are bored more likely to eat excessively? Do social situations or convenience lead to more excessive eating or bored eating? This are some questions that go off this topic a little bit and would be interesting to further research and discuss. Additionally, I think this blog may need a little more substance and back up information. A few more points connecting to lectures in class would also be helpful.

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