Want To Feel Better? Do Something To Encourage Others

Feeling down? Notice someone else who needs a pick-me-up? Some simple words of encouragement might be all you (and they) need to feel better. Research has shown that giving to others – in any way you can – makes not only the recipient happy, but the giver as well. So next time you’re feeling blue, give a compliment to your neighbor and see how much you both light up!


American Airlines flight attendant Taylor Tippett has made headlines recently for her post-it note words of encouragement that she tapes to airplane windows, posting them to her Instagram account for all to enjoy. Once she posts the notes to Instagram, she then hides them into a safety card in the seat pocket, hoping the passenger will discover it. If you don’t read the safety plans before you take off, here’s even more incentive to do so! Tippett’s Instagram hashtag, #wordsfromthewindowseat, has even set off a domino effect, with others joining in on the fun and posting their own words of encouragement and insight as they fly to their destination. What is it about these small words of happiness and hope that brightens our day so? 

Happiness = productivity

Plenty of research has been conducted on the health benefits of words of encouragement and positive outlook. Psychologist Daniel Goleman writes about emotional and social intelligence, asserting that the more we interact positively with one another, the smarter and happier we all are. In Social Science: The New Science of Human Relationships, Goleman notes that prefrontal activity in the brain where positive emotions are registered also affects our creativity and cognitive ability. The happier we are, the more productive we are.

Lend an ear

Depressed individuals, according to the Mayo Clinic, often suffer from “feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness.” In order to help a friends or relatives who may be depressed, the best thing you can do is encourage them. Encourage them to get treatment, encourage them in their day-to-day lives, encourage them in each activity they do. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that listening to your friend is one of the best things you can do for him or her. Understand that each person experiences depression differently. For added benefit, “Be encouraging and don’t get discouraged. Give praise for even the smallest accomplishment. Stay positive.” The more positive energy your friend or relative is surrounded by, the greater benefit he will feel.

It pays to be optimistic

The Mayo Clinic also notes that positive thinking “helps with stress management and can even improve your health.” Researchers still consider the health benefits of optimism and have determined that positive energy can lead to a longer life span, lower rates of depression and distress, and even greater resistance to sickness and diseases. It’s also easier to handle any situation that may come your way, whether its  health-related or otherwise. When it comes to managing stress and depression, it’s that positive energy and encouragement from and to others that can keep you going through tough times. So next time you see someone who is looking upset, offer some words of encouragement and positivity – it will make you both feel better at the end of the day.