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National Say Something Nice Day is an annual reminder to be kind to everyone you encounter. Kindness not only lifts up others, it can also improve your mood and overall wellbeing.

Valerie Kirk, Licensed Mental Health Counselor with Canyon Lakes Counseling, says there are many benefits of being kind. Choosing to practice kindness can increase a person's sense of happiness, improve their relationships and set an example for others to follow.

According to Kirk, the effects of kindness are experienced in the brain and the body. Studies have linked kindness to an increase in dopamine, serotonin and neurotransmitter production, contributing to feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. In addition, Kirk says it may lessen depression and anxiety and can even decrease physical pain through an increase in endorphins.

When complimenting someone, Kirk stresses the importance of being sincere. According to Kirk, a sincere compliment is one that is intentional, detailed, and said with an appreciative tone of voice and body language. She recommends avoiding phrases such as "thanks" and "good job," and replacing them with more personal comments. She shared the following examples:

  • "I really appreciate you for cleaning up the kitchen after dinner."
  • "Wow, I can see you put a lot of thought into making this gift for me."

On the receiving end, Kirk believes it is important to acknowledge and accept kindness from others. When receiving a compliment, she advises responding by saying "thank you" in an authentic way, as opposed to deflecting the attention. Kirk says dismissing a compliment may make the other person feel rejected.

National Say Something Nice Day encourages people across the country to set aside their differences and practice kindness. Saying at least one nice thing to others can create a domino effect of paying it forward.

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