Say a big ‘HELLO’ to our brand new product! The ‘Positive Pocket Reinforcers’. These are handy little cards with compliments ready to go. You can keep the compliments for yourself, deliver them to a loved one or hand them to a total stranger.
And, why would you want to hand out compliments? There are a few reasons and I’m more than happy to sell them to you.
The first reason is Pavlov and his dogs. In operant conditioning (the psychological theory brought to life by Dr Pavlov and his experiments on dogs) positive reinforcement involves the addition of a reinforcing stimulus following a behaviour that makes it more likely that the behaviour will occur again in the future. Positive reinforcement relies on the belief that when a favourable outcome, event, or reward occurs after an action, that particular response or behaviour will be strengthened.
Parents are often really good at positive reinforcement. When a very young little man mouths the word “poop” and then points to the potty for the first time, prior to relieving himself, the happy dance, kisses and hugs from his Mum are beautiful displays of positive reinforcement. Chances are he will now repeat that behaviour over and over given how exciting his Mum’s reaction was.
Compliments are another example of positive reinforcement. I think compliments are one of the most extraordinary components of social life. A compliment can create so much positive energy around two people that things can then move forward as if by magic. We can also imagine compliments as little gifts of love. They’re not asked for or demanded and tell a person they are worthy of notice. Powerful, powerful gifts.
Compliments are such powerful gifts and positive reinforcers that research has recently found that they can improve performance in a better way than receiving a cash reward can. In a recent study adults were asked to learn and perform a specific task on a keyboard. One group of participants received individual compliments on their performance from an evaluator, another group involved individuals watching another participant being complimented and the third group evaluated their own performance on a graph but were told improved performance would incur a monetary reward. When the participants had to repeat the task the next day, the group of participants who received direct compliments from the evaluator performed significantly better than participants from the other groups. Ha! Scientific evidence that receiving a social reward like a compliment is better for performance than money! Wowsers.
Selling Point #1 – These compliment cards could make your own or someone else’s daily performance better!
Secondly, these cards are closely linked to the emotion of kindness. And luckily for us, mammoth amounts of scientific studies have shown that one of the most significant ways to improve one’s wellbeing and life satisfaction is to engage in acts of kindness and prosocial behaviour. And these effects occur regardless of whether you are the giver, the receiver or even just the observer of the act of kindness – everyone reaps the rewards!
Kindness has been shown to result in an increased production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is the naturally occurring neurochemical that has a very calming, soothing and comforting effect on us. It helps regulate our mood and reduces our anxiety and generally makes us ‘feel good’. This is the mechanism of action in which a lot of anti-depressant medications work as they limit the reuptake of serotonin by the brain which helps to alleviate some symptoms of depression. So engage in an act of kindness and say hello to activation of the feel good pleasure centre in the brain! And this increase in serotonin happens to the giver, the receiver and the observer. That’s a win-win-win!
Selling Point #2 – These compliment cards will activate the magic pleasure spot in the brain and make everyone feel good!
Quite naturally we feel good when we give, help or serve others, a phenomenon called the ‘helper’s high’. This ‘high’ has been described as a feeling of exhilaration and burst of energy similar to the endorphin-based euphoria experienced after intense exercise which is then followed by a period of calmness and serenity.
Selling point #3 – Reap the benefits of exercise without actually exercising by giving someone a compliment card!
And there are physical benefits too. Research has shown that those who routinely engage in acts of kindness, such as volunteers, experience alleviation of stress, chronic pain, and even insomnia. Dr Christine Carter notes that:
“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving kindness to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organisations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early – and that’s after controlling for other contributing factors like physical health, exercise, gender, lifestyle habits and more”.
Selling point #4 – Buy our cards + Distribute = Live Longer!
So there you are. Some proof that sending some complimentary love either to yourself or someone else could have some really abundant effects – feelings of joyfulness, reducing negative feelings, diminishing the effects of diseases and disorders. Surely that’s plenty of reasons to give them a go!
Oh and did I mention they fit snuggly in your pocket? How handy!