Dining together reduces stress, says therapist

Time spent around the dinner table with – gasp – the TV and phone switched off – is better for your health and relationships

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Do you sit down to eat properly with your family? Or do you rush to the latest episode of yet another gripping Scandi drama while wolfing down a sandwich, ignoring your nearest and dearest (yup, us too)? 

A recent survey commissioned by Furniture Villagehas surprised us though, revealing that the UK's dining habits are not as bad as we might think. 

Of more than 2,000 respondents, an impressive 73 per cent stated that they mostly eat home cooked meals, with about a third admitting to a weekly takeaway. When asked why they didn't always sit down to eat at the dinner table, over half confessed to a preference for watching TV over dinner-time conversation, while 41 per cent would rather be on their phone. The overall number of those who regularly shun the company of loved ones in favour of technology is 24%, while those living in London are – unsurprisingly – more likely to eat their dinner on the go due to long working hours. 

Should we care where we eat our dinner and whether we talk while doing it? Well, most of us – 70 per cent – think that family relationships improve when meals are eaten together, and family psychologists appear to agree. 

Family therapist Dr Reenee Singh says 'Sitting around a dining table without digital distractions can provide an opportunity for the whole family to talk about their day. Children can learn good table manners and the art of having a conversation whilst eating and can also develop an appreciation for good food.' 

Eating in company, rather than alone, also has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress. Good enough reasons, surely, to skip that episode of The Bridge? We'll be recording it from now on...