Who doesn’t love a beautifully wrapped gift? Even better: how about a gift someone really thought about you and put energy into what YOU would like? It is always so fun to see the gifts loved ones spend the time and energy to give to you.
What if this one gift were given to someone with their feelings in mind and not ours? Maybe even a gift that lasts for a long time, so we are remembered for giving it to them? Don’t we all admit we want to give the best gift? We all want to be remembered for being so creative and thoughtful and putting a ton of effort into them, right?
Then this one gift is up your alley…
It feeds your brain and makes YOU feel even better than the person to whom you are giving it!
This is a compliment.
When we give a compliment to another person, WE receive the greatest benefit, not them. Yet, boy, does it also feel good to be on the receiving end?
You see, we have four “feel good” hormones. They are:
- Dopamine leads to feelings of excitement, joy, and pleasure. It is released in anticipation of happiness and when we are working towards achieving goals. Our primal ancestors experienced this chemical when they found sources of food as their need for survival was met. (deleting junk email, finishing a work project, walking 10,000 steps)
- Oxytocin is the hormone related to our social connection behaviors. When our brain releases oxytocin, it helps us feel close to others which is a vital component of brain health. It encourages us to form strong bonds with the people around us for social support. It is also known as the “love hormone” that encourages trust and show physical affection.
- Endorphins. We are familiar with that feeling during or after exercise. That is when our brain releases endorphins and primally ensured survival as it masks pain and allows us to run for our lives.
- Serotonin. Our brain releases serotonin when we feel respected and appreciated. It is also known as the calming hormone.
When we give a compliment to another, we are increasing our oxytocin – our social connection hormone which helps us feel closer to others.
Giving a compliment to a colleague or loved one is MORE beneficial to YOU than the person to whom you give the compliment!
Maybe you have a friend who has the special skill of helping others feel heard, loved, and cared for. Compliment them on how well they listen (see my post from last week here) and what a great friend they are. Or maybe you have a colleague who always goes above and beyond in the work that they do. Compliment them on how dedicated and hardworking they are. Or maybe you have a loved one who recently overcame something challenging. Tell them how proud you are of how they handled the situation with such strength and courage.
A compliment can be as simple as saying three words to show someone you appreciate them. It takes very little time and effort yet can have a lasting, positive impact on both you and those around you.
As we approach the holidays and “gift-giving season,” remember that not all gifts are bought in a store and wrapped in pretty paper. If you want to boost your feel-good hormones while making someone else’s day better, try giving the gift of a compliment this year!