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Bad Day? This One Thing Will Have You Feeling Good Fast

It's been a day full of ruts and re-dos.   


The dog got out this morning as you were getting ready to head out. He zipped right to the nearest mud puddle like a magnet to steel.   


That same fluff-bundle then trailed the mess back in the house, including up your pant leg when he joyfully pounced you. 


You had to change because, of course, today was an important in-person meeting, which you now were never going to make on time. 


In the rush out the door, "Take Two," your lunch was left sitting on the counter.   So much for your new No Frivolous Spending Plan as you try to find both a cheap and edible replacement. 


It feels like a dark cloud has been raining over your head. You need something to turn this day and your mood around.  


What if I told you there is something that will quickly make that change for you, and it won't cost you a thing? 


It's a chemical that can be easily manufactured in about 60 seconds. (I promise you, this is not a drug deal). 


Let's go back to that bad day you've been having. (Cue raincloud). It's all been going wrong, and you can't seem to get out of your own way. 


Then your boss stops by your desk. She wanted to let you know that your pitch last week was inciteful, and the client loved it.  


The pitch got to the heart of what they wanted. The client signed contract because of your thorough work. (Feel free to substitute the compliment you'd like to receive here). 


Suddenly, the sun has come out and the day has transformed. You walk out the door to head home feeling like a million bucks. 


That is the power of the compliment, or more like the dopamine it produces in your brain. 


Yes, that's it. A hormone you manufacture all on your own. All it needs is a reward to set it off. 


Compliments activate the reward center in our brain called the striatum. This is the same area of the brain that is activated when you receive money or eat something delicious.  


Compliments may even be more powerful than money. You don't believe me, do you? 


There is a study that shows people who received a monetary bonus for accomplishing a task increased their performance at work. No doubt what you expected. 


But wait, there's more! The performance of those in the study who received genuine compliments far exceeded those that received the money.   


Unfortunately, we can't schedule compliments when we need a boost. What can you do when you want to feel good but don't have anyone handing out compliments?   


A study by Researchers Erica J. Boothby, University of Pennsylvania, and Vanessa K. Bohns, Cornell University, showed that compliments give the same boost to both the giver and receiver. 


Start handing out those compliments. Keep in mind, though, they must be sincere to be effective.   


"Compliments" with the sole purpose of getting something for yourself are called flattery. Most people can intuitively feel it because it feels like being manipulated


There are three major components of a sincere compliment that boosts the feel-goods. 



Use their name:  People respond well when you use their name. It means you remember them and that they matter. Whenever possible, use the person's name. 


Name tags are so helpful. The service industry makes great use of them.   


That name tag allows you to tell someone you don't know how much you appreciate their hard work.   


Be specific:  Nobody believes generic compliments. When you add specific details about what you liked it shows you are paying attention. 


What did you like? Was it their purple shirt? Was it the 2 hours they stayed late to get the report done? The details are important to that person. 


Wait for a response: Don't do a hit-and-run as you fly past them! Take a moment to let them accept the compliment.   


Maybe follow up with a question to encourage conversation, like where they got the purple shirt. 


Spending a few extra minutes with the person after a compliment gives depth to it. It helps the receiver feel like what they did made a positive difference. 


Compliments are as good for the giver as the receiver. It does not take much to give a genuine one. They release that happy hormone, dopamine, in our brain that naturally makes us feel good. Who doesn't want more of that? 


What's the best compliment you either gave or received? Share in the comments, and let's get some feel-good going. 


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