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The idea for the Great Social Experiment started when Dallas began sharing his research into stress and socialization as part of his Functional Medicine studies.
Articles like this and this speak to the powerful effect social interaction has on our HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis, which (via oxytocin, in part) provides a buffer against the physical and psychological consequences of stress and stress-related diseases. Positive social interaction makes us less stressed, and keeps us healthier.
And most were happy to share this brief moment of social connection with me.
The further I took this experiment, the happier I was with the results.
Not once in my efforts did anyone totally blow me off. Some people were obviously not in the mood to talk, so I just let it go after my initial question.
But most of the time, people were thrilled to be asked something about themselves, their day, their lives.
The moral of this story is that if I can do it, you can do it.
In fact, it was hard not to feel happier, having just made someone else happy by asking them an unexpected question about themselves.
So really, with every exchange, people were left happier, and maybe went on to have better days because of it.
Interestingly, it was the moments when I wanted to talk to someone the least that I experienced the most benefits.
I had days when I was feeling down, stressed, anxious, and the last thing I wanted was to plaster a smile on my face and be nice to my cashier or waitress. and it never failed to pull me out of my own head, if only for a short period of time.