For one thing, being outdoors helps refresh the mind after doing "knowledge work," which anyone who spends all day at the computer can understand.
Also, the food typically served at barbecues — hamburgers, grilled meats and vegetables, potato salad — are also comfort foods for many, and a new study shows that eating comfort foods can alleviate loneliness, even when eaten alone. (Solo barbecue, anyone?)
Finally, the music typically played at outdoor parties has a positive effect on mood. When the music we are listening to makes us feel happy, we perceive the world in a more positive way. In one experiment,
people saw more faces that looked happy in images shown to them when the music they were listening to made them feel happy and more sad faces when the music they heard made them feel sad — even when there were actually no faces in those images.
So unless your barbecues usually involve unfamiliar foods, depressing music and the indoors, going to an outdoor party is sure to make you feel good.
• Read more: Benefits of Barbeques - Psychology Today
Do you think barbecues are especially good for mental health? Or does any social gathering have the same effect?
(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)