In a recent study, twenty five percent of British office workers claimed to be bored and used chocolate or coffee to cope. They also tended to use alcohol at the end of the day.
Boredom is uncomfortable. It is much more fun to be engaged in a preferred activity or spending time in good company. Food and drink provide immediate gratification. Both are relatively cheap, available 24/7, can be consumed alone or with others, and are not illegal.
SELF SOOTHING WITH FOOD AND DRINK
Businesses including entertainment, technology and law firms commonly stock roomfuls of snacks and treats, effectively coercing workers to work longer hours and right through lunch. Other workers pay for their gustatory entertainment at cafeterias, vending machines or upscale convenience stores found in high rise office buildings. Food and drink would be ideal coping mechanisms if it weren’t for those pesky side effects when you consume more than your body needs or can handle.
Ideally we eat delicious and satisfying food when we are hungry and stop when we are satisfied. This is food’s rightful place. Without hunger, entertaining ourselves with food opens Pandora’s Box.
OVER EATING, OVER DRINKING, INFLAMMATION
Eating more than we need triggers a cascade of metabolic consequences that increase inflammation. To add insult to injury, most popular snack foods contain one or more problematic ingredients known to increase makes things worse all by themselves: excessive fat–especially trans fats; refined starch, sugar and high fructose corn syrup; sodium and alcohol.
Inflammation is linked with everything from heart disease, diabetes and cancer to autoimmune disease states and Alzheimer’s. This is true whether weight is normal or excessive. People who don’t gain excessive fat weight eating poorly do not “get away with it” in the long run.
How can people step away from using refined starch, sugar, caffeine or alcohol to cope with boredom? What are your favorite ways to self soothe without using food?