Madissyn Fredericks, Licensed Professional Counselor

Take a moment to think about what it feels like when a stranger, coworker, or friend smiles at you and tells you they think your hair looks good that day, that you did well on a project, or that you seem happy. A simple compliment can shift your entire mood for the day and make you feel good. According to The Insider, one study even found that a single complement activates the same reward center of the brain that receiving money does. This simply validates how much we, as humans, enjoy receiving praise and acknowledgement. The interesting thing about genuine compliments is that it doesn’t just positively impact the receivers, they impact the complimenter as well. When you give someone a compliment you are in the present moment and consciously recognizing positive qualities in the world around you. While it can be uncomfortable or awkward to engage in either component of complimenting there are many reasons why you should. Below are a few ways a sincere compliment can positively impact your mood as well as the other person’s.

Improves Mindfulness

When you give someone compliment you are paying attention to the good in the world around you. We can often get caught up in a lot of unhealthy negative thought patterns such as self criticism, negative assumptions, and complaining. Praising people around you entails seeing the positive which is the first step to seeing it within yourself.

Helps Others Feel Empowered

Receiving a compliment can make your day, week, or even your month. Praising someone for their appearance, contributions, accomplishments, and personality help others feel empowered. If they were feeling down you may have just boosted their mood or even helped them recognize their worth.

Creates a Positive Space

Genuine compliments feel special and create a positive energy between two people. Any negative space can instantly feel positive for a minute. Between all the gossip at work, negativity, and exhaustion, two people can feel positive for the time being. Creating positive spaces and connections with people improve your overall outlook on life and influences others as well.

It is true that many people struggle with giving and receiving compliments to begin with. When you give a compliment just make sure it is sincere, specific, and moderate. It can be easy to detect a fake or over-the-top compliment and it can be uncomfortable to respond to. When it comes to responding to a compliment, always accept it graciously. While you may want to deny or deflect the compliment, it takes away from the recognition and appreciation. If you feel uncomfortable it may be helpful to think back to some of the positive impacts of a compliment discussed above for motivation.

If you struggle giving or receiving compliments in your daily life and would like some support, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!