A few weeks ago a study was released sharing the many benefits for teens and young children when they have regular sit-down dinners with their families. From a decreased likelihood to become involved with drugs and alcohol, to strengthening relationships, the benefits were astounding (read the results here) and something that should cause us all to pause and take notice.
Whether you have children or not, live with a partner, roommate or on your own, there are many benefits to making time to sit down and enjoy dinner at the end of the day. Here are five that I feel are the most beneficial.
Become More Conscious
By simply making time to make dinner you are establishing positive eating habits such as knowing what is going into your meals, slowing down to appreciate what you have just made especially since you know how much work and planning went into preparing it and allowing for the opportunity to eat a balanced meal that incorporates ingredients that are in season from local farmers.
When dinner is served around a table and not in front of the television, you are expected to communicate without any distractions besides enjoying the meal you have just created. Learning how to listen, look someone in the eye and express thanks, asks questions and get to know each other is way to continually strengthen any relationship with someone you love and care about. Knowing that someone is curious about your day and then returning the favor builds a support system that provides a peace of mind because you realize that someone cares which builds confidence and a sense of direction.
Cooking at home and serving a meal to family, friends or yourself is a simple way to save money. Eating out, while a treat, can add up if done regularly, and it usually will add to your waistline as well. By making the decision to eat at home more than you eat out will keep money in your pocket that can be saved for grander dreams and goals.
While sitting down for dinner motivates you to eat slower and enjoy your food, it also gives you permission to slow down in the middle of a possibly very harried schedule. When you slow down enough to savor your food, the conversation and the atmosphere, you allow your mind to relax, you welcome balance into your life and think a bit more clearly.
Learn How to Communicate Effectively
This particular benefit is something that not everyone learns until they realize they didn’t learn it and that is learning how to communicate respectfully and effectively. When you learn how to communicate respectfully (allowing others to speak, but trusting that you will have an opportunity to be heard as well), you come to realize that communication is the key to working through difficulties and disagreements. Sitting around the table, especially during the holidays and during dinner parties when many different opinions are in the room, typically provokes lively debate. But instead of avoiding this scenario, if you have learned how to communicate in a mature fashion, you don’t have to shy away from emotional discussions, but instead revel in them as they allow everyone to have their own ideas and share them without being dismissed.
While it may take a more organization and planning ahead, by being pro-active, sitting down to dinner more often can add many wonderful benefits to your life. Out of curiosity, I’d love to hear from you. If you are already someone who sits down for meals, what do you most love about it?