Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Want to Feel Happier? Talk to Strangers

A recent article (2019) from NPR asks, “Do you want to feel happier today?” Based on current scientific studies, here’s one way to boost your happiness: Try talking to a stranger.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Many of us tend to do just about anything to avoid conversation or even eye contact with strangers. And smartphones make it easier than ever to do that. A recent study found that phones can keep us from even exchanging brief smiles with people we meet in public places. But a body of research has shown that we might just be short-changing our own happiness by ignoring opportunities to connect with the people around us.

Several years ago, [two researchers at the] University of British Columbia tested whether short conversations with strangers could lift moods. They asked participants to enter a busy coffee shop and grab a beverage — half would get in and get out, and half would strike up a conversation with the cashier.

The people who turned the economic transaction into a quick social interaction left Starbucks in a better mood. They even felt a greater sense of belonging in their community.

Another researcher led a series of experiments revealing that train and bus commuters who interacted with other passengers experienced a more pleasant ride—even when they believed they would prefer the solitude of, say, reading a book. A third researcher noted that even brief eye contact increased people's sense of inclusion and belonging.

Possible Preaching Angles:

Followers of Jesus should lead the way in reaching out to strangers with conversation and kindness. As we engage others in a posture of kindness and prayerfulness, it may also open doors to share aspects of the gospel with others in our daily life.

Related Sermon Illustrations

The Hoarder Next Door

The suite next to our condo is a small studio. The neighbors who lived there when we moved in fit the profile: young, professional, and private. That's why I was surprised when the ...

[Read More]

Hurting People Need Friends to 'Offer Refuge'

Christian trauma expert Dr. Jamie Aten notes, "When our friends and loved ones are impacted by violence and mass trauma it can leave us feeling helpless, cause us to 'freeze' up, or ...

[Read More]