HEALTHY LIVING
05/05/2014 12:41 pm ET Updated May 05, 2014

How Talking To Strangers Can Make Us Happier

We've been told since our playground days not to talk to strangers, but avoiding those everyday interactions may be slightly hurting us when it comes to our happiness as adults.

Elizabeth Dunn, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, told HuffPost Live host Ricky Camilleri that while studies show we gain joy from conversing in our personal relationships, newer research has found that we can also experience happiness from chatting with people we don't know.

"Human beings are really built for social interaction," Dunn said. "What's kind of surprising and novel about our recent findings is that we can get remarkably similar benefits from interacting with people we don't know so well, and again we think that's something that's probably deeply rooted in human nature, but maybe we've lost sight of [it] in modern culture."

Dunn's research found that when we approach strangers with kindness, we tend to be happier and less moody with loved ones than if we're just efficiently going about our days and ignoring other people.

"Interacting with a stranger ... can provide this unexpected source of boost to our mood," she said. "People don't seem to recognize this benefit they get from interacting with a stranger as a result of just being their most-pleasant, cheerful self."

Check out the clip above for more on how talking with strangers can make us happy, and view the full segment over on HuffPost Live.

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