It feels good to say hello

SAYING HELLO CAN BE GIVEN verbally or gesturally. SAYING HELLO is just the gesture a lot of us need from somebody today.

Road waver

For the past 6 months now, I have trialled an experiment. The experiment was a very simple one. As I drove on open roads for the next 6 months, I had to make a conscious effort to wave to any on going traffic. It was a way of saying hello as often as I can through a simple gesture of raising a finger or two while hand on steering wheel.

The reason? I was in a rut in my own little world I call life. I wanted to make small changes to my daily routines to see if I could slowly start becoming the person I wanted to be. I’d already implemented the ‘read 30 pages a day’ challenge. This has now become the ‘read 30 pages on average a day’ for the year, I’m currently sitting on 32.56 a day by the way! I then read somewhere about how smiling whether you’re not feeling happy can almost instantly improve your mood. It can also improve the mood of the person you are sending that warm feeling towards. I then found on my next drive that I could maybe implement this waving routine as often as possible. Because, well, it feels good when someone waves to you while driving. And, it actually feels quite affable to initiate the gesture!

So here I am on my first drive heading into town with this new experiment committedly cemented into my mind. The drive is about 10 minutes on the open road and I’m always bound to pass no less than 20 vehicles on the way. The whole drive honestly felt rather uncomfortable. I felt as though every person I waved to didn’t care for me or was rude. I found that not one person waved back on this inaugural challenge. What a let down…Or was it?

From this 10 minute drive alone I broke down a few things from the sole experience;

  • It felt weird, clunky and a little embarrassing to initiate waves to people I didn’t know.
  • I found that my pride wanted that instant reward of acknowledgment from every wave I put forward.
  • I then found that through pushing through the embarrassment of not receiving acknowledgments from my waves, I actually didn’t feel like I’d lost face. The world didn’t collapse around me, my fingers didn’t explode from waving a copious amount in a short space of time.

So through this first experience you can see that my thoughts mostly surrounded my ego. I’d wanted everybody to wave back instantly as if they’d all had my same challenge in mind. Ridiculous really, here I’d just thought up a concept and assumedly wanted the world to be on board with me. But after having a little time to think about the experience, I wasn’t going to throw in the towel. After all, I was looking to increase my happiness levels and possibly the person I’d waved to as well.

I realised that once I had gotten past my ego and really asked myself how I felt about my efforts, I was actually happy. Happy because I pushed through a little anxious barrier of waving to strangers constantly. And happy because, it just feels good to wave now doesn’t it!

Now I’ll share with you some points of what I felt on the drive home continuing with the experiment.

  • The waves surprisingly felt significantly easier this time around.
  • I received my first and only wave back! From a complete stranger I must add! It was at this moment I had a hit of dopamine.
  • I wasn’t nearly as offended or critical on all the waves I didn’t receive.

It was from this second drive that I knew I was on an experience I could certainly maintain for a long period of time. That one wave received admittedly may have heightened my experience and perception of the new trial. But I genuinely felt happier, if only a little bit, for the fact I’d stuck at this caper.

Give a wave next time you’re on the open road

Clarifying the rules

Now during this 6 month experiment there were a few basic rules I’d set for myself;

  • Wave to as many drivers as possible when safe to do so.
  • Only have this experiment in place on open roads. The cities or towns is just taking things to an unnecessary level.
  • No need to wave to every single driver that is apart of a bank of cars.
  • See if my mood improves from destination A to B.

This experiment has honestly improved my mood 99% of the time!


You don’t necessarily have to do this experiment, but if you can take one thing from this piece I would like it to be this;

It’s okay to smile, gesture or open yourself up to people you may not know. Chances are they are just waiting for that invitation to say hello back. Be the first to extend the gesture.

You will take a step to making yourself feel happier every time you do this. Try not to frown to much, try to stand up straight and try to be the first to say hello. You never know who might need it today.

P.s. I’m still doing the waving after my 6 month trial. It’s purely habit now, and I’m grateful for taking another step towards the person I want to become.

Closing thoughts

Today, see if you can either wave or say ‘hello’ to 3 strangers.

Monitor how you feel from these gestures. And have yourself a nice day.

Nick Donnellan

Self awareness is progression

2 thoughts on “It feels good to say hello

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