Why Dining Out Makes People Happier

 In Our Blog

We all love eating out from time to time, but have you ever stopped to wonder why?  What is it exactly about dining out that makes us so happy? It’s an intriguing question with even more intriguing answers.  In fact, researches have conducted studies on this very question.

Both researches and diners alike have made the connection that what and how we eat can have a significant impact on our moods and levels of happiness.  And, it makes perfect sense! You go out for the experience, enjoy something delicious, maybe interact with other people – what’s not to enjoy? There has always been a connection between the food we eat and our moods.  But, eating your favorite foods can have an even greater impact, feelings of euphoria even. On the other hand, eating something just because it’s there and you have to can bring about feelings of dread. It is because of these feelings that we all have our go-to “comfort foods.”     

So, with these scenarios in mind, it should be no surprise that eating out does, in fact, make us happier.  Here are some reasons why:

  • It’s an experience – For most people, dining out is all about the experience.  And these days, people are happier when they spend money on experiences rather than things.  One of the best things about dining out is that you get to enjoy something new (or your go-to comfort favorites) in a new environment and atmosphere.
  • It’s all about the food – We are hardwired to love food, so of course, eating out brings a certain level of happiness!  When we get to associate this love for food with a new experience, our bodies react in a very strong manner, firing dopamine-producing neurons.  And, when dopamine fires, we relish the food and the moment even more.
  • It allows you to try something new – Eating out means that you get to try something new!  And, when you try something new, you experience joy. Research has found that people who seek out all kinds of different experiences and try new things are more likely to be able to mitigate or minimize negative thoughts and emotions in order to make the most of positive emotions.  People who never try new things simply don’t have this ability.
  • It’s different than home-cooked meals – When we dine out, the food is different, and therefore our bodies have a different, even favorable, response.  Dopamine and the release of other neurotransmitters are linked to pleasure, and that’s what we feel when we eat foods that taste good.  So, we have a deep-seated response to tasty, professional chef-prepared foods as opposed to many of our at-home prepped meals that we perceive to be healthier or blander.  That’s what makes eating out such a treat!
  • It allows you to socialize – When you eat out, you get to socialize with friends and family.  Researchers say that those who have strong networks of friends and family are more likely to live longer, happier lives.  Socializing keeps you mentally and emotionally strong. In fact, many health experts vouch for the importance of strong social networks because there are real health dangers that come with feelings of loneliness.
  • It gets you out of the house – We all know that getting out of the house is good for your mental health.  So, getting out and interacting with others is important and makes us happier and healthier.  

Plan your next outing with friends or family, and come to dine out with us here at Chicago Waffles in the West Loop!  After all, everyone has to eat, so what better way to catch up than over a delicious meal? Eating out may not cure all illnesses or overall feelings of sadness, but there sure is plenty of research that suggests it’s a good place to start.  So, don’t be afraid to go out, try something new, and enjoy the experience of just being out. It just might put a smile on your face!

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