Recognize each other: say “hello,” reduce stress

Social interactions benefit everyone, alleviate stress


Web Lehmann

Students should choose to engage in social interactions instead of burying themselves with piles of school work and stress. Simple acts of acknowledgment can aid in the reduction of stress and boost one’s self-esteem.

Giving a friendly “hello” does not seem like a difficult thing to do. However, for students at St. Paul Academy and Summit School, when pressures and stress levels rise, a trend has occurred in which students seem to forget how to practice the common courtesy of saying hello to each other. With semester exams rapidly approaching, this civility of greeting each is diminished just as quickly. The almost unstoppable nature of SPA students to complete their tasks seem to cloud their ability to treat one another with simple and polite respect. Students often grow consumed by the amount of work and studying they professedly need to finish, and they fail to remember a component of basic human cordiality: saying “hello.”

When students choose to not engage in greeting someone on a daily basis, they miss out on a healthy and beneficial human interaction”

What’s even simpler than giving a quick greeting is merely acknowledging one another through eye contact. In a 2011 research study by Eric D. Wesselman, Florencia D. Cardoso and Samantha Slater, they investigated the importance of social connections for survival. The study argues that without social relationships, people will inevitably face psychological and physical difficulties. In addition, an argument is made that simple eye contact is a form of social inclusion, while the lack of eye contact can be regarded as a form of social exclusion. When people deliberately avoid eye contact with one another, even a stranger, the person feels neglected. Similarly, South African social activist Desmond Tutu champions the theory of humans believing their existence to be wholly dependent on one another and this belief is instantly depleted when humans are humiliated by each other.

When students choose to not engage in greeting someone on a daily basis, they miss out on a healthy and beneficial human interaction. Additionally, students bypass the straightforward opportunity and perks that occur when people greet each other. Not only can saying hello benefit the people students say it to, it can just as easily benefit the student giving the salutation. Distributing hello’s has the capability to boost one’s self-esteem, give someone a broader outlook of influence, and it essentially allows people to have a greater sense of power and purpose. When greeting someone, people not only provide recognition for each other, they increase the chances of the person returning the greeting which helps increase a person’s confidence.

Acknowledging another person’s existence isn’t a new concept. Beliefs revolving around the way in which humans address someone’s presence has been expressed by many religious leaders and philosophers. In his book, I and Thou published in 1923, Austrian philosopher Martin Buber proposed that an attitude towards “I” and “Thou” constructs a relationship between two people that is not completely separate. This relation creates a whole and similar singular person. Buber ultimately states that the development of individuality into a complete personality is fulfilled through relationships people have with each other.

Experiencing a stressful week is not an excuse to neglect the opportunity to greet each other”

SPA serves as a wonderful standard for what a supportive community looks like, however, the decency to greet each other must be present at all times, not just when stress levels are lower.

In the reality of student’s educational life, exams, tests, essays, and projects are unavoidable. Stressors are inevitable because that’s just life. That said, experiencing a stressful week is not an excuse to neglect the opportunity to greet each other. In reality, when students partake in social interactions, even if they are quick, it can aid in the reduction of stress. A more succinct understanding of the benefits from recognizing one another should be instilled in SPA’s atmosphere to uplift each other’s sense of purpose.

By elevating the importance of personal acknowledgment, SPA could foster an even more tightly connected community that values the simplistic concept of understanding each other’s irreplaceable existence.