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.
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.