Wake Up Call

Eating Lunch at Your Desk Is Stressing You Out

Show this to your boss or casually pass it around the office so it will work its way into his or her awareness. A new study shows that eating lunch at your desk is making you more stressed, less creative, and quite possibly less productive.

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According to recent research done at Humboldt University in Berlin, those who go out for lunch rather than eating at their desks showed increased feelings of relaxation and reduced cognitive control, which may indicate increased creativity and ability to connect with others.

Unfortunately for many 9-to-5ers, a 2011 study showed that only one in three American workers actually takes a lunch break. So at least we're not the only ones eating sad sandwiches at our desks.

The study involved 32 female participants, half of whom ate lunch alone at their desks. The other half of the women were instructed to go out for a leisurely lunch with other people and walk back to the office. After their meals were completed, the scientists measured the women's semantic memory, cognitive control and error processing, and processing of emotional facial expressions. Subjects also filled out a questionnaire ranking their mood.

Of course even if we didn't eat lunch at our desks, we highly doubt we'd have time to make a "leisurely" and social occasion out of lunch on a daily basis. But, hey, we can dream, right? Chew on that for a while.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria