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Talking to strangers in public transportation settings rather than sitting in silence shown to boost happiness

Social interaction
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(NaturalNews) While most people tend to sit in silence during public commutes, hesitant to talk to fellow riders on modes of transportation like buses or subway trains, new research has come out suggesting that it may be good to start talking more.

Findings reveal that engaging in discussions with strangers in such environments may actually boost happiness. (1) And who doesn't want a little more of that in their life?

Researchers set out to uncover what happens when humans, who crave happiness and social interaction by their very nature yet tend to ignore other humans in close-proximity situations, spoke with strangers instead of staying silent.

Study participants were asked to engage in a variety of situations including connecting with a stranger near them or remaining quiet. In situations in which connections were made versus ones where they were not, a more positive experience was reported.

Interestingly, the finding also shed light on humans' sometimes negative anticipation of certain outcomes, which was observed when some participants revealed that they fully expected that they would prefer total solitude instead of the happier one that actually resulted. (1)

Interacting with strangers a more positive experience than anticipated

"Connecting with strangers on a train may not bring the same long-term benefits as connecting with friends," says one study co-author, Nicholas Epley, who is a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. "But commuters on a train into downtown Chicago reported a significantly more positive commute when they connected with a stranger than when they sat in solitude." (2)

It's theorized that the reason why people tend to not connect with strangers in public transit settings is likely because of their thoughts that others are probably not interested in social interaction in the first place. Therefore, most people choose to remain silent. (1)

Social interaction contributes to longevity

However, interacting with others not only makes people feel happier but has been shown to have health benefits.

John Cacioppo, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, said, "Loneliness shows up in measurements of stress hormones, immune function, and cardiovascular function." He explains in an interview with U.S. News that the loneliness which results when people choose to not connect with others can alter the body's cellular processes and even lead to premature aging. (3)

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://psycnet.apa.org

(2) http://www.mindbodygreen.com

(3) http://health.usnews.com

About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. >>> Click here to see more by Antonia

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