You look lovely – and not just cos it’s national compliment day

By Ben Moran, Katie Lawson, Bella Payne

In a modern world that revolves around “likes” and Instagram “comments”, the traditional compliment is rarely given. It seems as though a young person’s confidence now relies on the number of likes on a selfie or the number of followers they have but does this have a negative effect on our ability to show kindness during a face to face interaction?

Social media is often blamed for crushing the self-esteem of teenagers. In a Sky Academy report which surveyed 1,600 young people living in the UK, it was found that 37% of 14-17 year olds admitted that they could be more confident online than in real life. It was also observed that females have lower confidence than males. In possible correlation to this, significantly more women are present on social media.

Perhaps the traditional compliment is much more valuable than your comments on someone’s Facebook picture. The positive effect of a compliment can be highly underestimated. Research shows that receiving a sincere compliment results in the same positive uplift as receiving a large sum of money. Regardless of who is offering you the kind words, what may consume 5 seconds of your day has the potential to amplify your happiness for the rest of the week.

Research has found that giving a compliment leads to a release of oxytocin, a hormone released when people hug or bond socially. Also referred to as the “love drug”, oxytocin could be used to treat mental health problems.

In fact, there is a whole day dedicated to the compliment. In celebration of this, we interviewed five people about their recent experience with compliments.

From this, we have confirmed that given the opportunity, people still have the ability to be kind. Despite the rise of social media and its effects on our social lives, as Lucius Annaeus Seneca said: “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”

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