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Over-eating, Stress, and The Modern World

There mere fact that the term, “comfort food” exists is proof enough that eating certain foods is good for relieving stress. Whether it is some sort of psychopharmacological thing, something connected to mental health and memories, or an evolutionary instinct, the fact is that eating is effective stress relief. However, when one considers all the stress and anxiety that gets tossed around in modern society, it isn’t surprising to learn that the weight loss pill market is on a steady increase. Indeed, as people are put under more and more stress, with less and less time to find stress relief for it, food becomes an increasingly tempting option. Sure, stress and anxiety are not the only factors behind the increasing number of people with obesity, but it does have to take some of the flak.

People look to food as a cost-effective means of stress relief, mainly because a number of modern environments simply don’t allow for a significant amount of time to relax. For example, in those high-stress corporate environments, people tend to have very little time to spare between getting to work, actually working, and their duties outside of work. To avoid allowing the stress to build and become a danger to them or the people around them, they do the one stress relief activity that they can do. A little candy bar here or some potato chips there can be enough to get a person’s mind through the stress and anxiety of a typical work day. However, when one develops a dependence on these things to relieve stress, then there is going to be an eventual need for a weight loss pill or diet plan.

It isn’t just the corporate workplace and the employees within it that end up eating a little too much “comfort food,” however. As stated in a number of books, such as “Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety,” shows, mothers also have to deal with the problem. Between the stress of having to keep a handle on active children and the duties that mothers have to perform, there is plenty of room for the average mother to binge a little. This can be especially true in suburban environments, where there is often a subtle competition between housewives that puts a lot of undue stress and anxiety on mother and child alike.

Children can also sometimes fall victim to over-eating “comfort foods.” With so much pressure on children to succeed on all possible levels, there’s plenty of stress and anxiety to go around. The problem lies in the fact that children nowadays are subjected by their parents to all manner of time-consuming extra-curricular activities, with even the slightest potential becoming something that could be “developed.” Parents tend to be well-meaning in cutting down on the playing time of their children, as all of these activities are designed to help them succeed. However, there comes a time when children will need to be given time to be children. Stress and anxiety are things that the mental health of a child is not fully capable of handling, such that any form of stress relief can be seen as acceptable. For most, succumbing to peer pressure or playing video games can do the trick, but a few others end up turning into binge eaters.

Over-eating due to stress and anxiety is not an all-encompassing problem yet, but statistics show that it is getting there. As competition in the workplace, stress in the home, and the pressure to succeed compounds with each generation, more and more people are going to need effective, quick stress relief. Pressed for time to find ample ways to relax, food can often be the only viable option available to them.