Maybe you’re a morning person who’s ready to seize the day as soon as you open your eyes - or maybe you take at least half an hour and two cups of coffee to warm up before you can string a sentence together.
But it turns out those of us who like to start the day with a friendly greeting are on to something.
New research has shown that greeting people, particularly strangers, with the two words “Good morning” and exchanging some friendly chat can actually be beneficial for our own happiness.
The study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, looked at the behaviours of 60,000 people - 40,000 of them from the UK, concluded that “momentary interactions, greeting and thanking” can increase wellbeing by establishing a sense of belonging.
The research was led by Dr Esra Ascigil of Sabanci University, near Istanbul in Turkey, and conducted by researchers at the University of Sussex.
In the study, two groups of people were asked the question: “How many strangers have you started a social conversation with in the past seven days?” and asked to rate their life satisfaction.
The results? Those who had more conversations with strangers had greater satisfaction with their lives.
Ascigil explains, “Having a sense of belonging involves feeling like you are accepted and valued by other people – it is often considered a fundamental human need.”
And Kate Jopling, an adviser to the UK-based non-profit organisation Campaign To End Loneliness, notes that “These things help to make us feel like we belong. They cost so little, but are worth a lot.”
Greeting people with a simple “good morning” may not be something you put much thought into, but it’s something that is being encouraged around the world to help combat the problem of loneliness. For example, northern Swedish city Luleå has introduced the Säg hej! (Say hello!) campaign to tackle social isolation.
It comes just weeks after the World Health Organisation announced it was making loneliness a global health priority and launched a new Commission on Social Connection.
The commission will look at methods to address the “pressing health threat” posed by the increase in loneliness around the world to help people strengthen their social ties.
The Who notes that isolation and loneliness can particularly affect the health of elderly people, but can negatively affect people of all ages.