Kindness from strangers improves your well-being – even more than romantic love, study finds


People who feel love every day are healthier, happier, and more expressive, but that love doesn’t have to be romantic.

In fact, researchers at Penn Medicine have found that the small, everyday actions of strangers, coworkers, and friends can be even more powerful.

These gestures – asking how you are, helping yourself with your bag, text of support – also trigger feelings of love.

Since they are often unexpected, at random times of the day, and come from different people, they seem to have a more powerful overall impact on your well-being than a simple love channel from just one person.

In general, most of the feelings of love of study participants increased over the course of the day, and people reported feeling more loved after experiencing specific kind gestures – whether they were in. romantic relationship or not (file image)

Zita Oravecz, assistant professor of human development at Penn Medicine, said, “We took a very broad approach when we looked at love.

“Love felt on a daily basis is conceptually much broader than romantic love.

“It’s those micro-moments in your life where you feel a resonance with someone.

“For example, if you talk to a neighbor and they express concern for your well-being, then you might experience that and feel it as a feeling of love, which might improve your well-being.”

For the study, published today in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, the researchers conducted two surveys to assess the fluctuation in people’s emotions throughout the day.

At first, they worked with a group of 52 people of varying ages for a month, then with 160 undergraduates for eight weeks.

The researchers sent text messages with survey questions six times a day at random intervals throughout the day to study participants.

They asked about accomplishments, milestones, mood and more. Sometimes they would ask “how much do you feel loved right now?” ”, With a link to a sliding visual scale from“ not at all ”to“ extremely ”.

Generally, most of the romantic feelings of participants increased as the day progressed, and people reported feeling more loved after experiencing specific kind gestures, whether or not they were in a romantic relationship.

Dr Oravecz says this suggests that everyday, sometimes seemingly mundane interactions have a powerful impact on our romantic feelings.

The team couldn’t show a direct link between kind gestures and feeling loved.

But Dr Oravecz says the findings could open the door to new mental health care techniques, like a service that sends out random text messages of support throughout the day.

“This is something we’ve seen in the mindfulness literature, when people are reminded to focus their attention on positive things, their overall awareness of those positive things starts to increase,” Oravecz said.

Likewise, just by paying attention to these daily moments of felt love, we can also increase our awareness of the globally positive aspects of love in our daily lives.

“This effect is reproduced in both studies, implying that awareness of the love felt in day-to-day life may in itself be an intervention that increases levels of love felt over a longer period of time. “