Something as simple as saying hello to a stranger can enhance your happiness and feelings of well-being in these troubled times, two new studies show.
In one survey, a sampling of 856 commuters who initiated “positive social interactions” with their bus or shuttle drivers had greater levels of being satisfied with themselves and their lives.
In the other, a group of 265 travelers were split into two groups Half were told to strike up a positive interaction with their driver by saying "have a nice day” or “thank you” upon leaving the bus, in a warm and sincere way. They were also told to make eye contact.
The other half of participants was told not to speak to their driver.
The commuters were surveyed after they got off their buses. The first group reported more positive feelings and well-being than the travelers who didn't talk to their drivers.
Both studies were recently published as a paper titled "Minimal Social Interactions with Strangers Predict Greater Subjective Well-Being,” in the Journal of Happiness Studies.
"Simply taking a moment to greet, express good wishes, or say thank you to strangers is linked with greater happiness in everyday life," the authors wrote.
So if the coronavirus pandemic is on your last nerve, try a simple hello to the person behind the wheel on your next bus ride.