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The danger of boredom as a response

I’ve had some big open spaces in my calendar recently. This happens in the freelance life where work seems to come all at once or not at all. When I’ve been really busy, time off seems so desirable but when it comes in a string of days, I find myself at loose ends and boredom looms up at me. And this is dangerous for my recovery from food addiction.

I forged a link between self-medicating with sweets and boredom when I was 10 in a 5th-grade classroom that I hated. I bought candy on the way to school and ate it all day long to keep myself in my seat. And I’ve reinforced that thousands of times over the decades since then. Although I don’t eat sweets anymore (sugar-free for almost three years), self-medicating with food is still a temptation when I’m bored.

So I have to choose another response to my circumstances. It may seem odd to think of boredom as a choice but it is; the one sure power we have over our circumstances is how we respond to them. So I can choose boredom and struggle with wanting to self-medicate or I can choose engagement or activity or learning or connecting instead. It takes practice but everything about recovery takes practice.

What is your relationship with boredom?


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