A compliment a day keeps the doctor away

A compliment a day keeps the doctor away 

© Julia De Graeve

“HELLO YOU GORGEOUS! You’re really pulling off those cool pants! And you, you light up the whole room with your smile!” Feels nice, right? Getting such sweet compliments? We’re starting off March with a smile, because today is Compliment Day!

 Compli-what & Compli-why? 

Compliments, or according to our favorite Dutch dictionary friend “Dikke Vandaele”: “words of praise”. Who doesn’t love some heartwarming words of praise? But why do we love them? Is it just our ego that deserves a little boost from time to time, or is there any science behind it? We’ve looked into it for you!

You receive five compliments on your stunning outfit, but one person says something negative about it and BAM, that outfit won’t be leaving your closet anytime soon. Relatable? No, you’re not seeking attention, it’s actually a flaw in your brain. Research found that our brain pays more attention to insults than to compliments.

For their test, researchers used the Emotional Stroop task. Say what?! Sounds unfamiliar, but, believe me, y’all know it. The Stroop test is a test where, for example, the word GREEN is written in the colour blue. When asked to identify the colour the word is written in, your brain will need more time to be able to recognize that colour as ‘blue’ than when the word BLUE would be written in blue. The emotional Stroop task tests the same type of colour recognition but with insults and compliments. Researchers tested reaction times to recognising colour when used for compliments or insults. And it turns out our brains take longer to name a colour when used in an insult than in a compliment. Conclusion? Our brains pay more attention to insults than compliments, and they literally throw us off guard for a moment. Dammit, a little glitch in that head of ours!

Our conclusion? Compliment Day comes just at the right time, because we need loadsss of them to compensate! Highlight each other’s best qualities today and shower your fellow students with compliments today!

© Julia De Graeve

A little bit of Pixie Dust

That jump in your belly, that smile on your face, why does a compliment feel so nice? Well, it’s all about the pixie dust called dopamine. Dopamine is a substance that is released in the brain when your reward system in your brain is activated. Reward means a happy feeling, which is why dopamine is also called the ‘happiness hormone’. The wonderful feeling you experience makes you want to repeat the dopamine-inducing behavior. Our brain wants to make sure we do as many things as possible that make us happy. Talking about a sign of self-love….

I’m addicted to you!

Need a shot of dopamine? There are lots of things that can help you do that! Cuddling for example, eating strawberries and chocolate, exercising or…getting a compliment! But… Beware! Dopamine is the little brother of amphitamine, which plays a big role in building addictions such as drugs, smoking or alcohol. Our golden tip? Get addicted to compliments to get your daily dose of dopamine and leave those other drugs aside! Compliments are little gifts for your mental health, they give you a shot of happiness and they boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. And it’s only getting better, because compliments also have health benefits for the giver! Whoever gives a compliment that goes down well with the receiver also gets a dopamine shot themselves; doing something for someone else makes us happy, how nice! Insert compliment-addiction, please!

© Julia De Graeve

Talent for giving compliments?

Are you a compliment-talent? Then you’re a dying breed! Experts point out that we are getting worse at giving really good compliments. A compliment only gives a boost when it is sincere and personal. According to experts, today we are much more focused on ourselves, and therefore know the other person increasingly superficially. Social media also play a role in this. Liking a post on Instagram is a kind of digital compliment, but its impact on our mental health is more negative and long-lasting.

According to experts, a healthy compliment satisfies 5 things:

  1. The compliment must be specific.
  2. Special to a particular person.
  3. Sincere.
  4. Must be about a particular person’s behavior;
  5. and its effect.

We are already fully convinced of Compliments Day. As far as we’re concerned, every day should be compliment day, so let’s start with today! Hey, in case nobody said it today, you are a perfect valuable person, thank you for being you! <3

© Julia De Graeve