Bored, Blue or Blah? 4 Ways to Cope

Do you munch when you are bored? Most of us do! Here are some easy, scientifically researched ideas on how to beat boredom eating.
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Young woman holding apple, portrait
Young woman holding apple, portrait

Do you munch when you are bored? Most of us do! Here are some easy, scientifically researched ideas on how to beat boredom eating.

1. Scenery Switcheroo: In an interesting (and somewhat disturbing!) 2015 study in the journal of Appetite found that people eat just to break up the feeling of monotony rather than pleasure seeking. After watching a repetitive video clip, research participants could eat chocolate or inflict a shock on themselves. They did both! The subjects would even inflict pain to themselves just to break out of blandness rather than seeking pleasure. No need for pain! Just switch things up a little. Change your scenery. Go to a different room. Sit in a different chair. Switch sensations (drink something cold or hot).

2. Chew Gum:
Research indicates that chewing gum changes your alertness level and EEG patterns. So, if you are feeling bored, pop some peppermint gum in your mouth (peppermint is also great for soothing yourself and your appetite). It's not just to take care of your oral fixation. It actually, can make you feel more alert!

3. Blood Flow: Changing your energy level can help. Get your blood flowing in seconds with these:
•10 jumping jacks.
•Lay on the floor, put your feet up against the wall.
•One cup of Black tea.
•Doorway stretches. Place your hands on either side of the doorway and lean in.
•Squeeze your fists, then release. Repeat.

4. Tap Into Your Brain: Activities that stimulate your brain and block boredom eating are those that tap into your visuospatial skills like doing a puzzle or knitting. These kinds of activities activate your brain but also can place you into a relaxed trance like state due to the rhythmic nature of it (much like taking repeated bites do). Pick up those knitting needles and go to town! The distraction also helps to lessen emotion/keep it in check. Click here to read about this study. If you don't like knitting, try cleaning out a drawer. That helps too!

For more tips, join Dr. Albers 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food FREE Online Webinar. She interviews 10 experts on how to replace emotional eating with comforting and calming activities. Sign up NOW.

Dr. Albers is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and a New York Times bestselling author.

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