Quick – when was the last time you gave someone a compliment? I hope it was sometime today, because today is National Compliment Day. Actually, I hope you’re in the habit of giving compliments. If not, keep reading, because giving compliments to others has many benefits for you!
Since smiling is a side-effect of compliments, let’s explore the power of the smile. When you smile, your brain releases endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, three of your body’s feel-good chemicals. Also, when you see someone smile, your brain releases those same feel-good neurotransmitters. If you need another good reason to smile more, researchers in Scotland found that people who smile and make eye contact are consistently ranked higher on the “attractiveness” scale. But wait – there’s more! (No, I’m not turning into an infomercial…promise!) Noted aging and development researcher Ernest L. Abel studied 196 baseball players and found that those who smiled with their whole face (otherwise known as the Duchenne smile) lived nearly 10 years longer than those who didn’t smile much, and nearly 8 years longer than those who smiled using only the muscles around their mouth.
Now that you know the power of a smile, let’s talk about giving – and receiving – compliments. Only 48% of women feel comfortable accepting a compliment, while 63% of men do, so before you go out complimenting everyone in sight today, make sure your words and intentions are pure. The goal is to make them smile, and people smile when they feel comfortable and safe. When you compliment someone’s emotional strength, problem-solving skills, or taste in cars or clothing, you’re on pretty safe ground. When you talk about their body, you’re stepping into a danger zone. Plan your compliments accordingly so you won’t come off as creepy.
If you want a fun way to work random compliments into your daily life, borrow some words I discovered several years ago: “you’re winning at…” When you notice someone with a great handbag, tell them they’re winning at handbags today. When you see someone with wonderful hair, tell them they’re winning at hairstyles. See a mom trying to get their toddler to behave? Tell her she’s winning at parenting. You get the idea – this lets you coax smiles from strangers in a fun way, and who doesn’t like to win? You’ll smile, they’ll smile and you both win. If you need a bit more encouragement, check out these three podcast episodes:
Do you feel like you’re not making a difference? There’s a Tiny Bite for that!
Do you have trouble accepting a compliment? There’s a Tiny Bite for that!
Do you need help appreciating yourself? There’s a Tiny Bite for that!
There’s a new episode of the world’s second-shortest podcast each day at the Center for Workplace Happiness website and wherever you listen to podcasts. Please subscribe, like and share your favorite episodes with your friends, and if you have a compliment about the podcast, please share it with me.
On the subject of compliments, there’s one more thing – if you lead a team, did you know that when you complement one of your people, it lights up their brain’s reward center the same way a raise or bonus would? What can you say to one of your people today? Here are a few idea-starters:
Now that you’ve read this, you’re up to speed with smiles and compliments. Take what you’ve learned and dish out compliments today and every day, and watch how great it’ll make you feel!
Wags, Sandy Weaver, Program Director, Center for Workplace Happiness
PS... Want more peace of mind and health of body in 2023? Check out the Mind, Body, Soul Sessions podcast – something for your whole self, just $7 per month.