So your 20’s are well and truly over and with it that fluid social environment. Everyone increasingly seems partnered up and nestled in to their own personal social circle. Hell it’s not even as easy to get laid as it once was right? Yes – well, marriage will do that to you. Speaking of which – just between you and me, your partner has been a bit grouchy lately. What’s with them?! If only there was a magic spell that made everyone both nicer in general and nicer to you specifically. Turns out there is: it’s called gratitude…
Gratitude feels so 2015, I know. It’s also decided fluffy, yet despite this our dear sciencey friends in the white lab-coats with more than a little aspergers in their personality profile have been busily researching it. You see, scientists are a socially awkward bunch in general, so they find research grants to study us humans under the guise of trying to become better socially adjusted.
The central question to the vast majority of scientific research when you scratch the surface is generally, “What is the science behind getting laid and how can I do it?” But a definite subset is just, “how do I make friends and keep the people I love happy?”
Well, a rash of research has been conducted of late on gratitude and it turns out it totally fits the bill. ‘Partner praising’ as the literature sometimes refers to it is associated with demonstrable increases in loving feelings towards the other. Even just watching a pre-recorded video of your partner praising you and acknowledging your strengths and virtues and what they appreciate about you can do it after a single viewing.
Much has been written about the hormone oxytocin – the molecule of love that bonds us mammals together both socially and romantically. Well gratitude and praise are also ways to boost this much needed warm-fuzzy hormone. That’s right – you can stop wasting your time on those vending machines in the truck-stop toilets that sell ‘pheromones’ – what did you really think $2 was going to buy you anyway?!
In terms of making friends, walking up and praising strangers may be a little too forward. Fortunately a bunch of the research is focused simply around saying ‘thankyou’ in a manner that people really feel.
Eye contact is often helpful here, so get off your phone at cash registers for a start.
Men in particular value acknowledgement of their actions and women tend to under-bake this particular aspect of communication much to the detriment of heterosexual longterm relationships. It certainly feels like man-praising is not publicly done much in this generation, so it makes sense to balance this out at home.
A study I found actually contradicts this however, and suggests instead that men are trickier to praise effectively and that compared to women are “less likely to feel and express gratitude, made more critical evaluations of gratitude, and derived fewer benefits”. So fellas, maybe it’s time to lift our game on that front and open ourselves to giving and receiving praise more deeply. Women are hardly over-praised either, so acknowledging and thanking everyone is definitely called for.
Finally, people who praise others and have higher amounts of gratitude even sleep better according to the research, so…
Thankyou sweet friend that I have never met. Thankyou for this funny little friendship, this long-distance love affair. I really do appreciate having you as my reader.
This article is reprinted from the author’s page and is used with permission.
Over the last 22 years of clinic practice I have had the opportunity to research and practice some of the most respected traditional medical systems; these include the Chinese, Tibetan, Indian and Persian traditions. I have also been fortunate enough to work in a series of community health and international aid initiatives. https://www.doctorjimi.com