Why Eating With People Will Make You Happy This Christmas

Vic Grier looks at the benefits of eating with others…

If you are anything like me, eating alone involves toast…or cereal. But even the best toasted sourdough piled high with avocado can be a bit depressing compared to eating it with someone. Even when I am feeling particularly spenny and treat myself to Wagamama steamed pork buns. On your tod. Not so fun. But does eating on our own affect how happy we are?

According to a recent study by Oxford Economics…it does. In a survey of 8,250 British adults, that people who always eat alone score 7.9 points lower, in terms of happiness, than the national average. Interestingly, it found that eating meals alone is more strongly associated with unhappiness than any single factor other than having a mental illness.

This mirrors research conducted by The University of Oxford last year that revealed that the more often people eat with others the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives. Researchers found that people who eat socially are more likely to feel better about themselves and have a wider social network capable of providing social and emotional support. What is really alarming is that a fifth of those questioned hadn’t eaten an evening meal out with a good friend or family member for more than six months. (I mean where is that shock face emoji!

...Eating meals alone is more strongly associated with unhappiness than any single factor other than having a mental illness.

Professor Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford’s Experimental Psychology department, said: ‘This study suggests that social eating has an important role in the facilitation of social bonding, and that communal eating may have even evolved as a mechanism for humans to do just that.”

With the UK Government having published it’s first ever strategy to tackle loneliness in 2018 it looks as though the issue is finally being taken seriously. A role has even been created for a Minister of Loneliness! As part of the long-term plan for the NHS, funding will be provided to connect patients to a variety of activities, such as cookery classes, walking clubs and art groups, to take some of the strain off the NHS and improve patients’ quality of life.

So it’s sounds as though one of the most straightforward ways to combat this widespread problem is to call up your friends and get them together for a drink and some nibbles. Well…we listen to reason here at cuirl so if eating together at Christmas can combat unhappiness we are going to embrace it like Nicki Minaj embraces pink. Check out our Festive Party Theme-spiration guide to what food, cocktails and music will guarantee a great gathering.

You heard me, go eat, drink and be merry!!


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