Happiness At The Table



I am profoundly embarrassed to admit this, but lately cell phones have joined my family at the table, especially during breakfast.  I’d like to blame it on the recent pandemic versus laziness, but whatever the cause electronics have usurped the conversation at this meal – until the day I picked up the book My Hygee Home by Meik Wiking and got slapped with a BIG wake up call.

Wiking defines hygge as, “The art of creating a nice atmosphere. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and can allow ourselves to let our guard down.”  One way he suggests making this happen is to ask the question, “How can we eat better?  Not just from a nutritional perspective, but from a happiness one as well.”

After reading Wiking’s work I realized we needed to REMOVE the electronics from our table. I’ll be honest, I did not love this idea. I LIKE getting a jump on my e-mails, reading my favorite advice columns and taking a look at the latest headlines so I was not surprised when my family ALSO groused a bit. But we agreed to experiment.

For one week, no phones at the table. Our first non-phone bowl of oatmeal found us staring at one another. What were we to talk about? It was so HARD not to reach for that phone!!! But with no beeps, or flashes of light to distract us the conversations began to flow. I’ll admit, not all were memorable. A few simply involved laying out the plan for the day, but even those simple conversations alleviated debates over who was taking the dog for his afternoon walk or dropping books at the library. A few WERE incredible, especially the morning we discussed how to bring more adventure into our lives!

What struck me most though was how I felt AFTER breakfast. I was calm and often contented. A sensation starkly different from the angst I often felt after devouring my meal while perusing the news.

We are now on week three of our experiment and phones have been banned from ALL meals. Last night we even lit candles at the dinner table – another idea from Wiking. 

I have no idea if this would work for your family, but I wanted to share the experience. In some ways difficult to do, and then again so simple. But for my family Meik Wiking was right.

Happiness on the menu may be as simple as stowing away the phones!

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