6 Reasons Complimenting Strangers Is Good For Your Well-Being

Have you ever received a compliment and instantly felt better? A compliment can go far in making your day and can even help you in a low moment. Kindness is a crucial factor for everyone that's seldom discussed. An act of kindness, such as giving a compliment, can mean the world to someone going through a rough time. However, it can also do wonders for your own well-being. As small as it may seem, a simple sentence complimenting someone's outfit can set the course for a better and more productive day for both the giver and the receiver.


In many ways, kindness, an undeniable trait of a good person, is the answer to a more fulfilling and happier life. The easiest way to spread kindness is through compliments. Oftentimes, hearing a compliment from a stranger can feel more genuine than hearing it from someone you know. This means you can potentially improve someone's day and yours with an act that takes a matter of seconds, whether at the coffee shop or on the street. Even better: It can improve our lives in ways you may have never imagined.

It's a mood booster

It's a no-brainer that getting a compliment increases your mood and instantly makes you feel happier — just one way to start your day in a good mood. The Harvard Business Review studied people who received praise every day for a week to determine how constantly receiving compliments would affect their mood. Although many initially believed their mood would not change as a result, the study showed that a simple compliment was enough to make a difference. However, the receiver isn't the only person benefiting from one sincere compliment. The giver is also in for a treat.


There's even a scientific reason why you should dish out sincere compliments to strangers daily. Doing something nice for others helps trigger your dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters, making you instantly feel good. This effect is similar to receiving money or a gift. So, not only are you giving someone the ability to feel good about themselves, but you are also subtly rewarding yourself. The key is to keep your compliment sincere. The more natural your praise sounds, the better you'll feel.

It improves your social skills

It's one thing to compliment a friend or loved one, but speaking to a stranger is more challenging. Many are apprehensive about praising a stranger because it means coming out of your comfort zone and initiating a conversation. However, pushing yourself to speak to someone new not only helps your confidence but improves your ability to socialize. Tasking yourself with genuinely complimenting a stranger every day will make it easier for you to speak to those you don't know.


While you may not feel immediately comfortable to give presentations in front of hundreds, complimenting a stranger can help you practice breaking the ice and can serve as a gateway to feeling more comfortable when speaking to strangers. The beauty of complimenting someone unknown is that it can be a passing praise with no obligation of small talk. A quick "I like your shoes" as you walk by is enough to give you a small boost of confidence when speaking to others.

It helps you think quickly

Another benefit of complimenting others is its potential benefits on your cognitive health. If you're constantly on the lookout for giving praise, you'll need to think quickly on your feet to formulate the best way to deliver your message. While you might have a list of generic compliments, these aren't as genuine as an organic compliment based on the stranger. If your designated stranger has a great sense of style to you, coming up with a proper delivery is key to making sure they feel seen in the right ways. Many times, you'll want to compliment a stranger when they're passing by or during a short timeframe, whether in the elevator or waiting for coffee. Being able to quickly deliver your compliment will help work your brain in ways you may have never done before.


Giving out compliments isn't only about the initial contact, however. The stranger you choose to compliment may want to expand on your initial message, requiring you to quickly engage in a conversation and follow up. Knowing how to respond and process information quickly is a perfect practice to keep your brain actively working. Having to process information about a stranger to develop a compliment can help you learn how to react at a moment's notice.

It improves your mindset

The rapid flow of information and news thrown at us at all times can be overwhelming. Waking up to world events and tragic situations can affect your mindset over time. Instead of being pulled down into a constant cycle of negativity, try complimenting a stranger to keep yourself feeling positive. Compliments give others a piece of positivity throughout their day. To best do this, you will need to think positively yourself. Constantly keeping your brain thinking about positive things can help change your mindset over time, keeping you happier and healthier.


We already know that complimenting others gives you a dopamine increase. This increased mood lifter carries you throughout your day, helping you see things in a more positive light. That warm and fuzzy feeling you get from making someone else feel good will help create a buffer to a negative mindset throughout the day. Always looking out for a way to pay praise to a stranger can train your brain to look for the good, since you can't compliment others if you're constantly thinking negatively. With repeated practice, you'll find it easier to switch on the positive mindset and keep yourself happy.

It benefits your physical well-being

While it may initially feel like a stretch, complimenting someone can benefit your physical health. Negativity and stress can take a toll on your physical health. These factors, although occurring in your mind, can affect how well your body operates. Positive emotions and an increase in dopamine and serotonin can help build your defenses against physical illness. The better you feel internally, the less likely you are to get physical symptoms in the future. If you've ever taken note, feeling low can often come with side effects including headaches or migraines. Complimenting someone will boost your mood and, in turn, your physical defense against illness.


Something as small as being kind to a stranger can help you physically feel good and build up your defense against stress and its physical symptoms. A higher degree of dopamine release lowers cortisol, the stress hormone, making you less likely to fall privy to stress symptoms. Paying someone a compliment can help you feel more confident and optimistic, helping you feel better suited for taking on your day and its activities. You'll walk taller and happier knowing you've made someone's day and likely work harder and with more glee.

It makes you more self-aware

Complimenting someone requires being present in the moment. It's difficult to give someone genuine praise if you're constantly looking down at your phone, something we already know isn't good for our mental or physical health. Additionally, always being somewhere else mentally can increase your risk for mental health issues including anxiety and depression. Being present is a great exercise to ground your body in real-time, forgetting about the future or the past. On a deeper level, complimenting a stranger means refocusing your brain to examine those around you and become more aware of your surroundings.


If you're at a coffee shop or a store, stopping to take a look at those around you to find someone to compliment can be a great exercise to get out of your own head. Instead of looking down and scrolling through social media, keep your head up and on the lookout for your next stranger to compliment. Being aware is key for many reasons, but it can also give you a grounding moment often found in meditation. Complimenting others can be your form of meditation, keeping you focused on your mission and aware of the present.