Other great news

Studies show that just saying “hello” to your bus driver can increase your happiness and wellbeing


Ankara, Turkey

You might have heard the saying “happiness comes from small things.” But what are these “small things”? Could simple, social interactions, as small as saying “hello” or “thank you” to a stranger such as a bus driver, have a significant positive impact on your happiness and wellbeing?

According to two new studies that have been published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, the answer is yes. In their research, they found that just greeting or showing gratitude towards bus drivers, led to significant increase in feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

The first study consisted of surveying 856 participants. They all were asked questions about the following topics:

  • How often they greet or thank their bus drivers.
  • How often they have a neutral conversation with their bus drivers (e.g. asking for directions).
  • How often they experience overall feelings of happiness, cheerfulness and calmness.

The results show that participants who initiated “positive social interactions” with the drivers more often, experience more happiness and satisfaction in their lives. Only having neutral conversations did not show this result.

The second study  was more practical: 265 travellers were split into two groups.

The first half were told to have a positive interaction with their driver, by saying “have a nice day” or “thank you” and making eye contact upon leaving the bus.

The second half was told not to speak, nor have eye contact with the driver.

After the experiment, the participants in the first group reported significantly more positive feelings than the commuters in the second group.

These outcomes suggest that well-wishing and expressions of gratitude to strangers are a legitimate source of happiness.

The results might sound obvious, but only a small number of people actually do it. So, when you’re having a tough or stressed day, wish the person that provides service to you a wonderful day and show gratitude. Better yet, make it a consistent habit, regardless how your day is going!

Common roadside weed could help stop growth of breast cancer cells


London, United Kingdom

A roadside weed, Arabidopsis thaliana, can help stop the growth of breast cancer cells, a new study finds. A research led by English professor Allesandra Devoto at the University of London shows hopeful results for potentially a natural treatment.


The team treated the leaves of the Arabidopsis thaliana with the plant hormone Jasmonate (a substance in jasmine that boosts plant responses to stress). Then they incubated the treated leaves with breast cancer cells.

The results, published in the New Phytologist, showed that not only the breast cancer cells stopped growing, the experiment also left normal, healthy cells untouched. This is a significant find, as the use of this leaves could potentially have great positive results, with fewer side-effects compared to usual chemical treatments.

Professor Devoto has been researching this subject since 2006 and the results of the studies were only published in September 2020. She said: “Along with my colleagues from Brunel and Exeter, I am truly excited to have discovered the amazing impact this unassuming plant has on breast cancer cells. It just proves that even plants with a non-medicinal pedigree can work for cancer treatment.”

Co-authors of the research Dr Amanda Harvey at Brunel University London, and Professor Nicholas Smirnoff at University of Exeter say the next step is to identify which exact compounds made by Thale cress are killing the cancer.

Alberta is the first province to eliminate fees for addiction recovery programs.

Alberta, Canada

In Alberta, Canada, the cost of addiction recovery treatment went from $1,200 a month, to $0, thanks to a major shift in the way the Alberta government is funding addictions recovery. It’s the first time a province has thrown out fees for people to attend a treatment centre.

The $40 daily cost will be covered for everyone who does not have the health insurance plans that would cover the cost. Residents can now go the 72 licensed, publicly funded treatment centres in the province, for free.


“For the first time in Alberta’s history, publicly funded addiction treatment will be extended to all Albertans,” says Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan.

Luan said families shouldn’t have to sell a vehicle or refinance a mortgage to pay for addictions treatment programs. The cost was a huge hurdle, and one he wanted to eliminate.

The investment is not only positive for people that need help, but according to calculations from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, also for the economy. When help is not given in time, eventually the costs for health services, police, courts, corrections and lost productivity would greatly exceed the addiction recovery programs. For every dollar invested in prevention can save another $12 down the road, Luan said.