Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • January 2021 • Circulation 5000

Happiness Is Contagious

I don’t know if anyone is on board with me for the Happiness Project, but I strongly believe that supporting individuals to work towards happiness can transform our community into the best that it can be.

We already have an advantage in the sense that we walk more here than in other communities. That means we have more human contact. Talking to more people gives us a chance pay others heartfelt compliments. While we bask in the warm relationships we have with our friends, why not get the feels for quick interchanges with strangers? Just noticing a fun pair of shoes or a beautiful head of hair or someone’s great smile and paying that person a compliment boosts our oxytocin.

The Harvard Business Review says that positive comments and conversations produce a chemical reaction that spurs the production of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that elevates our ability to communicate, collaborate, and trust others by activating networks in our prefrontal cortex. And, of course, the person receiving the compliment gets a hormone boost too. Getting a compliment activates the oxytocin system and causes your brain to release endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine while reducing cortisol, the stress hormone. It also helps you sleep better and just feels good.

I often find that while I’m in a grocery store line up I can strike up a conversation with another shopper and the ensuing exchange leaves me feeling uplifted. Let’s not forget those who are regular fixtures in our lives. We often grow complacent and take our friends and family for granted. A few well-placed compliments can awaken both of our hearts to positive feelings for each other. So, I’m challenging myself and you to give one stranger and one friend or family member a heartfelt compliment every day for the next month. I’m looking forward to seeing where that takes us. I hope that the good feelings become contagious.

Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.

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