The Great Wake Up: Help a stranger

Chris Baréz-Brown invites you to join us for a year where we stop operating on autopilot and start living a life full of joy and curiosity


The Great Wake Up: Help a stranger

The world has become a more isolated place even though more and more of us live in urban areas. We seem to have perfected living in our own bubble created by the distractions of mobile devices and snug headphones that cut us off from the outside world.

Along with our solitary whirl of digital distraction, ‘phubbing’ has become the norm: maintaining eye contact while texting someone else.

According to digital life sociologist Professor Sherry Turkle, in the absence of direct conversations with others, we are experiencing a rapid decline in empathy. Research by the University of Michigan found that young people’s ability to identify and relate to both their own and other people’s feelings is declining rapidly.

Meaningful social interaction is vital to our happiness and to noticing what matters in a world that moves at an ever increasing speed.

By helping a stranger in any way, we get to notice that we have the power to contribute when we spot the opportunities around us, if we simply stand up and make them happen. It could be something as easy as holding the door open with a smile, helping a parent get their pushchair off the bus or buying a homeless person a cup of tea.

Each time you do it, notice how it jolts you awake and gives a positive energy kick to your day.

Wake up now!

Author, speaker and Upping Your Elvis founder Chris Baréz-Brown has teamed up with Psychologies to create a 12-month experiment to break our routines. To commit to weekly experiments for your own personal life-liberation and to follow The Great Wake Up! bloggers, go to

Photograph: iStock