Do you find yourself wanting, in fact needing-to sink your teeth into something not because you’re hungry but to fill that awful hollow inside yourself?
The type of boredom that feels so unbearable that it drives us to the point of wanting to push that awful feeling way with food, is a sign of our soul trying to wake us up. It is an attempt by you-the larger you-to step out of old habits and beliefs into brand new adventures.
The Silver Lining in Boredom Boredom is our attempt to create a major change in the course of our life. At some level we wish for ourselves to be much more relaxed in life, more joyful, or more engaged in personally meaningful pursuits. However, this yearning for change often comes from a deep subconscious place, a place that is not yet in our conscious minds. This yearning for change comes in the form of a feeling, and that feeling is boredom.
Unbearable Boredom and Eating As the boredom becomes stronger in its attempt to communicate with the conscious mind, it generates increasingly intense feelings and emotions. These emotions, if left unheeded become more than uncomfortable, they can often move into the realm of feeling unbearable.
Afraid to face the intense feelings, and even more fearful of venturing beyond the restraints of our conformist belief systems, it is easy to become trapped in a cycle of pushing down the feelings of boredom with food. Yet food will not and cannot stop the growth that is occurring as our spirit wishes to expand into greater life experiences.
If we are unwilling or unable to openly explore our boredom, a type of paralysis occurs. Within this paralysis exists a lethargy that stops us in our tracks. The old outgrown habits no longer hold our interest and new choices have not yet been imagined. We sit there unable to move within the paralysis of an internal no-man’s land. It is here, within this paralysis and the intensity of boredom-based emotions that we often turn to food as a method of diversion, distraction, or coping.
That’s boredom eating, and it quickly becomes a habit that generates its own set of distinct problems that in reality have nothing to do with the root of the core issue. Addressing the eating behavior alone, or attempting to control the eating with repeated dieting will not resolve the issue long-term. The inner desire to move towards expansion and inner growth is an important call from the divinity within that will not quiet until it is heard.
Trapped Within The Lethargy We become trapped because we don’t understand what is happening. On one level, our human self probably wasn’t happy about certain aspects of our life, but it was feeling safe going along with life as it was. Things may not have been perfect, but for the human self it may have been good enough.
We also become trapped because we trained ourselves to ignore the voice of our spirit in favour of listening to the voice of analytical reasoning. Logic only sees the uncomfortable feelings of boredom as something that must be fixed, ended, or stopped immediately. The logical mind is seldom concerned with the long-term results of our choices, but rather its immediate goal is end the boredom now. The more insistent our spirit becomes in its attempt to communicate, the more resolute our resistance becomes. A stalemate ensues until one day we realize that if we don’t do something different, we will drown beneath the heaviness of our boredom.
Ending Boredom Eating So how can we effectively end boredom eating? One suggestion is-perhaps during a part of the day when you are not feeling so overwhelmed with boredom, look inside and come up with an idea or two that can get you through the worst part of the day. Feel into those ideas and sense for yourself which ideas hold some excitement or promise. It doesn’t have to be the perfect idea. Just an inner sense that comes from your heart that says, “try this” or “experiment with this.” Then find a way to put those ideas into action. There may be great resistance to doing something new or different, but possibly gathering the support of a friend or partner may help may the journey through the lethargy easier.
It can also be a great help to get out your journal and write about the feelings you are experiencing. There’s no need to try to change the feeling or fix the problem, just write about what this experience is like for you. Write before, during and after the boredom. Write about the eating. Notice the paradox that although you are bored, you are eating food with little joy and little attention and probably also eating boring foods. Write about what it’s like to feel overwhelmed with the desire to eat. Write afterward when you feel stuffed and ashamed that you overate once again. It takes quite a bit of courage to say hello to your boredom and to your boredom eating and to give both a voice. Yet is it listening and expressing that is healing.
To stop boredom eating involves cultivating an inner maturity of realizing the benefit of long-range personally meaningful desires, goals, and pursuits. We liberate ourselves from the need to eat to avoid our feelings when we take the time necessary to connect with deep inner urges. As we replace old habits and beliefs with self-important choices, then boredom eating naturally evaporates.