Saturday, May 27, 2017

Are You Having A Bad Day? Do This To Turn It Around

Raise your hand if you're always looking for quick and simple ways to make your busy and stressful days a little bit better.

Are you waving your arms enthusiastically over your head? Me too.

Just like you, my days get busy. And if there's an easy trick that promises to make me end each workday feeling more positive --and a little less frazzled--I'm all for it.

So, in my quest to bring a little more sunshine into my workdays, I decided to try something: Every day for one week, I paid someone a genuine and heartfelt compliment.

Spreading Positivity

What exactly made me think of this activity specifically? Well, there were a few reasons that led me down this path.

First and foremost, I knew that a task like this would be fairly easy.
While I'm not exactly generous with praise (we all tend to be a little stingy with the compliments), I could instantly think of dozens of people or accomplishments who deserved my recognition--recognition that had previously gone completely unsaid.

So I knew that this wouldn't involve a huge investment in time, thought, or energy.

Secondly, I figured that doing something like this didn't just stand a chance to improve my day--it could improve someone else's day as well. That's an added bonus.
And finally, I knew that paying compliments was something that previously made me feel good. As much as I love receiving recognition and praise, I almost enjoy doling it out even more.

So I knew that this sort of exercise had significant chances of boosting my mood on a daily basis.

The Science of Kindness

Before I jumped in with my mini social experiment, I wanted to roll up my sleeves and familiarize myself with what I could expect moving forward.

Receiving a compliment feels good--that much I already knew. In fact, studies show that compliments activate the same part of the brain that cash rewards do.

But what about giving compliments? It'll make the recipient's day better, but will it realistically accomplish anything for me?

Here's what I found out: absolutely! Numerous studies point to the fact that spreading positivity can give you a definite boost.

For example, using a life satisfaction survey, researchers in Great Britain concluded that performing random acts of kindness (which can range from paying a compliment to buying someone's coffee) can significantly increase someone's satisfaction with their own life.

The Act of Paying Compliments

Needless to say, I was convinced of the many benefits. So, I took five minutes of each day during one workweek to pay a compliment to someone in my network.

Since I work remotely, these pleasantries were delivered via personalized emails. But if you have the ability to compliment someone in person, I'd highly recommend that!

One day, I sent an email to the editor of a website I admired to let her know that I was loving the site's recent content and that their newsletters were knocking things out of the park.

Another day, I sent a message to a fellow writer to tell her how much I loved her recent article.

The next day, I took a page from a previous tactic of mine and jotted a note to a past mentor thanking her again for all of her advice and guidance.

The Results

As suspected, sending these friendly sentiments made me feel great.

But what I didn't expect? I received a prompt response from every single one of those people letting me know how much they appreciated my message and that they were going to turn around and dish out a few compliments themselves.

Pretty great, right? I felt like I had started a chain reaction of positivity, which in turn boosted my mood and outlook far more than I had even anticipated.

So, if you're feeling a little down in the dumps--or even if you're not--follow in my footsteps and take five minutes out of your busy workday to pay a genuine compliment to someone who deserves one.

It's something I plan to continue doing, and I'm willing to bet you'll soon feel the same way.