Some of the benefits of going out to eat are obvious: you get to enjoy delicious food, indulge in a glass of wine or cocktail (or two!), and it’s all delivered right to your table with friendly and capable service. At Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar, we’ve got the food, drinks, and service on lock.
But did you know that there are other benefits of dining out that have nothing to do with the food? As it turns out, the company you keep can have positive effects on your well-being. Connecting with other people over a meal can provide fantastic mental and physical health benefits. This is particularly true if you take a break from technology, which allows you to disconnect from stressors and distraction and reconnect with yourself and others.
Curious about the benefits of disconnecting to reconnect? Here, we’ll detail why it can be beneficial, and offer some invaluable tips for how to do it successfully.
Benefits of connecting with others: Everyone knows that exercise, enough sleep, and eating well are huge contributors to everall well being. But equally important to both physical and mental well being? Social connection. Studies show that a lack of social connection can be of greater detriment to your overall health and well being than obesity, smoking, or high blood pressure.
On the other hand, actively pursuing social connection on a regular basis can provide great benefits. While most people know on an anecdotal level that engaging socially can make you feel better mentally, there are some great physical benefits as well. It can increase longevity, improve immune function, lower depression and anxiety, and it can even help you heal faster from physical ailments.
Of course, these benefits are most pronounced when you truly devote yourself to your social interactions without distractions: AKA technology.
Benefits of disconnecting from technology: Do you feel like your phone or tablet is almost like an extension of your own body, or as important as a limb? You’re not alone. But believe it or not, putting down the tech every now and again can offer some pretty amazing benefits.
In a Mashable article, Dr. Yvonne Thomas, a psychologist and therapist based in Los Angeles, puts it succinctly: “You can be so preoccupied with your digital devices that it’s all too easy to inadvertently sacrifice time, relationships, sleep, focus, productivity and balance in your life. Many people are not even aware of the toll their extensive usage of digital devices costs them until they have suffered a loss or upset because of this.”
Basically, by focusing on your gadgets, you can be missing out on some of those important social interaction benefits. So how to disconnect from tech to reconnect with yourself and those you love? Here are some tips.
Tips for how to disconnect to reconnect. Here are some suggestions for how to successfully disconnect from tech and distractions so that you can forge true connections with friends or family during a night out!
Put out an invite. Put a plan in the works in advance. Depending on people’s schedules, you may need to organize an outing a month in advance; in some cases, it requires just a few days or even hours’ notice. Decide if you want to make it a full-evening outing for dinner, or if you want to keep it more casual, perhaps attending one of Hearthstone’s live music nights or meeting up for happy hour (or reverse happy hour).
Set an intention. Set an intention for yourself and others in advance to disengage from technology during your planned outing. It’s going to be far easier to stick to it if you make this a goal in advance and if the group is prepared!
Make it a game. Some people may need a little incentive to ditch the cell phones and technology. If you think that it will be difficult to disengage, make it a little game. Every time someone brings out their cell phone, they have to donate a dollar (or another amount of your choosing) toward the evening’s bill!
Organize an activity. In some settings, shaping an outing around a specific activity can be helpful for forging connection and helping people disconnect from distractions. Organizing your outing around a live music event, watching the big game, or having a specific activity to enjoy while out, such as discussing a book over drinks and appetizers, can help in keeping your group focused on each other.
Get the conversation going. Sometimes conversation comes easily; sometimes it needs a little prompting. If you ever feel like you need help with conversation, you’re not alone. Choosing a thought provoking question, or bringing up a topic that acts as common ground, can be great starting points.
When it comes to conversation, there are definite don’ts as well. Consider your audience. If you suspect (or know) that certain subjects, such as politics, might begin to cause strife or arguments, maybe it’s best to shelve those topics for now. Sticking to common ground will often provide less stress and allow for more friendly connection.
Order food to share. Ordering plates which can be shared can be a convivial way to forge connections. It can also prompt conversations, including what types of food appeal to each person in the group, the importance of quality food providers, and discussion about tasting notes in a given dish. Sharing food provides a multi-sensory connection, bringing you closer with other people.
Make plans for your next date. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to and to keep those social connection benefits going. At the end of this outing, make a loose plan for your next one! That way, you’ll be sure to keep the benefits coming.
Conclusion: Going out to eat is almost always a treat, but there are greater benefits than merely enjoying well prepared cuisine. Dining out can provide a powerful opportunity to disconnect from distractions and to reconnect with what matters: the people that you care about. We hope that you’ll find Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar the perfect setting to connect with what matters while enjoying creative and delicious cuisine!
How do you disconnect to reconnect?