I have a challenge for you. No, it’s not about listing things for which you are grateful. (Although research reveals gratitude is an impressively attractive activity and trait.)  And, no, it’s not about tossing a bucket of ice water on yourself. (Although hasn’t that been a fun-to-watch and amazing fundraising phenomenon?)

This is something way more subtle, yet boldly revolutionary.

I’m calling it my Good Morning Project.

© Gajus - Fotolia.com

© Gajus – Fotolia.com

Here’s how it works:  For the next week, as you go about your normal activities, I challenge you to do something simple: smile and say “good morning” to the people you encounter.  Now this doesn’t mean you should go dashing all about the office, airport, airplane, train, coffee shop, gym, grocery store, or neighborhood obnoxiously stalking people, creepily getting in their faces, yammering on, and making them feel uncomfortable or intruded upon. It means to naturally acknowledge the presence of others in proximity to you.

“Good morning!” That’s it. (Unless you find that it leads to more conversation – up to you. Just be respectful and realize not everyone is a morning person.)

I’ve been doing this, well, for most of my life, but particularly lately.  I love doing this while riding my bike around my neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday mornings. What’s more, I’ve been noticing fun and spectacular results. People are actually taken by surprise (usually in a good way) that someone would bother to pay them any attention and offer a friendly greeting.

Sure, a few look at me with stunned and offended expressions, as if I’ve just invaded their Personal Universe. But the majority have carried on with their days, their energy lifted even just a tad. Many respond in kind with a smile, wave and “Good morning to you!” We all win!

Behaviorial scientists call these little encounters “shared micromoments of positive emotion.” They are good. They are healthy.  They are human. They help us emit oxytocin, which our body REALLY loves. Literally.

Sound overly simple? Try it. And you’ll definitely notice how this has been missing from your life — and in the lives of others.  You may even meet someone interesting who changes your life.

Give it a try. Report back with results – and have the chance to be in my upcoming book.