Why Do Compliments Feel So Good?
by Timothy Bailey on September 02, 2020
Admit it, you love receiving a genuine compliment from a friend or stranger. And who can blame you? It feels great!
In fact, research shows that when you receive a compliment, it triggers the same reward centers in your brain that light up when you receive money or have sex. Compliments are like mini orgasms for your brain!
But compliments do much more than make you feel good; they also make you perform better when learning a new skill, proven by an experiment conducted by the National Institute for Physiological Science in Japan. In the study, 48 adults were taught a typing drill, learning to type a specific sequence of keys on a keyboard as fast as possible. The next day, the same participants tried again. The participants who were praised during the first day’s exercise significantly outperformed those who were not. But who are we to expect compliments to help us perform better or feel good?
If you want a sure fire way to add instant positivity to your life, you can GIVE more compliments, too!
Focusing on and noticing the good qualities in the world around us gives our moods a boost all by itself. But compliments work only if they are sincere reflections of our thoughts and if they are given by choice, not forcefully. To go the extra mile in giving a genuine compliment, remember to:
Include their name
It can’t be emphasized enough how much it means to someone when you call them by their own name. It communicates that they’re worth knowing. It’s their favorite word in the dictionary!
Make your compliment specific
Instead of saying, “you look good,” say “that color is great on you.”
Don’t praise and leave
After giving them a compliment, stay in the conversation to inquire more about them or their day. After you comment on a shirt, for example, you can ask where they got it from or if it’s new. Make sure to really listen to their response, too!
Lastly, it may sound silly, but it is important that we are good at receiving compliments too! So many of us will shrug off praise, or try to refute someone’s compliment out of modesty or insecurity, but don’t! Instead, smile graciously when someone compliments you, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.
The art of receiving a compliment teaches us an important lesson about life.
It tells us that how we feel is highly subjective, known only to us. And it isn't necessarily observable to the world. And often the world is better off without knowing how we personally feel. And so are we. Because the positive atmosphere created by a compliment, if we allow it, can be powerful enough to transform our feelings.
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