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.
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.
LOL – I do this every day. I even stop sometimes to thank the persons sweeping the street. It does make a difference as you see the smiles, and yes, even the looks of surprise are worth that one little greeting.
Hurray Jessica! This is great. So few people bother to partake in this very basic social grace. Think of all the days you have brightened!
You are sooo my girl…
Jan, you are soooo my muse / inspiration. You affirm continually that social graces, making others feel seen, heard and good and being kind are mandatory. And the results they produce? Pffft. Don’t get me started!
I do this all the time and I love it! Thanks for sharing.
Patti, you are so on target. I make it a practice to do this when I’m out in the early morning for my “power” walks – and people brighten up with the connection. It took me a while to realize though, it didn’t matter if someone didn’t respond (at first when I didn’t get a return good morning, I took it personally). It’s an offering – you just gotta put it out there. The positive emotion you spoke of makes a difference no matter what. And now when Mr. Curmudgeon waves to me first, it makes my day!
Patti, what a great idea! Because I was trained by JAN 🙂 I also do this frequently… it does make a difference in your day and theirs! Love it.
My wife and have noticed that with IPone generation people are loosing their inter-personal skills. Kids and teenagers are taught not to make eye contact in fear of molesters and rapist. We need to bring back the common courtesy of greeting people and making eye contact. I suggest adding a big smile after the greeting. It lets others know you are sincere and most of the time you get one in return.
I am going to do it. Starting today. I sometimes do already, but I am going to take it up a notch for the sake of experimenting. Thanks, Patti.
Good morning (or afternoon or evening)! Thank you, Laura, Jim, Lorie, Jeanne, Alicia, Jan and Jessica. Was just out on my cycle and more than half of the people I greeted smiled and greeted me back. One lady got the “good morning” treatment twice. She just laughed.