It is not that any study was needed to prove this, but an investigation published this summer adds to previous ones that corroborate what we feared: the use of the cell phone, which often deprives us of exchanges as basic as a simple smile with strangers With those we meet on a day-to-day basis, it also has a cost in this regard for our well-being and sense of belonging.
In one of their experiments, they asked the participants to enter a cafeteria. Half entered the establishment, ordered a drink and left quickly, while the other half of the participants had a conversation with the clerk. What they found is that the people who stayed and took the trouble to transform the merely economic transaction into something social, came out in a better mood in the cafeteria and had a greater sense of belonging in their community.
Social scientists Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroeder approached the users of the Chicago commuter service and proposed, in exchange for a modest interchangeable gift voucher in a chain of coffee shops, to participate in an experiment during their trip. A group was asked to give conversation to the person sitting in the next seat. To the other, to maintain the habitual behavior of disregarding the world. Those in the first group had, as they explained later, a much more pleasant experience.RELATED
If you're in trouble talking to a stranger, you're not the only one. When Epley and Schroeder asked other people how they thought they were going to feel after having a conversation with the one next door, the travelers thought their trip would be more pleasant if they kept quiet and their things. Most people thought it would be difficult to start a conversation, and they assumed that nobody would want to talk to them. But the reality was that none of the participants suffered any contempt. And the talks were, as they said later, pleasant.
Daily commuting to work are among the daily activities with which we associate less positive emotions, according to a study in the journal Science. But it shouldn't be that way. We are following a false conjecture. The point is that if you connect to the WhatsApp instead of chatting with the neighbor you lose an opportunity to connect.
When we talk to strangers we tend to show our friendlier face; We are much more grumpy with loved ones. The mistake is that we assume that our well-being depends on the closest relationships, and not on the secondary characters in our daily lives. And yet, interactions with these people influence our happiness as much, these scientists argue, as we maintain with the people with whom we share life.
Even the slightest conversation can make a difference. “The simple recognition of a stranger on the street can alleviate his existential anguish; and the fact that they recognize us is the same for us, ”they point out.
This is also contagious. When a person takes the initiative to talk to another in a waiting room, Epley and Schroeder say, both people have a more positive experience. Far from feeling upset, the well-being of strangers is also improved. "When we talk to strangers, we could earn much more than the time we fear wasting."
The work environment has a significant impact on mental health
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