At this very moment, our wellbeing is being challenged by COVID, the effects of a pandemic, restrictions we are taking for our safety, social media, politics, and the list goes on. Do we have to accept the tension, or can we be the change-maker? Can we, with a few simple words, improve not only our wellbeing but that of perfect strangers or close friends? YES, we can, according to studies.
Studies sharing how simply saying “Thank you” or “Have a nice day” can impact your state of mind and the recipient. “The results showed that the more often the subjects initiated “positive social interactions” with the drivers, the greater their sense of well-being and life satisfaction.” 1
Why do these fleeting social interactions with strangers enhance our sense of well-being? The authors suggest it may have to with the so-called “find-remind-and-bind” theory. Acts of kindness create an effect psychologically binding people as a response.
What barriers might prevent people to express gratitude regularly? Do you have any advice for traversing these?
“Barriers to experiencing gratitude can be too much self-focus or self-absorption, and even very kind people can be self-absorbed due to stress. One way to find more opportunities to share gratitude is to pay attention to what others are doing around you and for you.” 2
Teaching our students to greet their bus drivers may be just the thing they need to start their school day with a positive mindset. Encourage students to say hello or have a nice day upon entering the bus or school. After a week, ask them if they noticed the bus driver received the greeting and how the return greeting made them feel? To read more about a study done on bus greetings, click here.
Don’t STOP at bus greetings. If we read deeper the studies reveal our interaction with others affects our wellbeing. The goal of this article is to give you hope. Have a nice day!