Do you know what I’ve noticed? People with anxiety and depression wander through the world in a steel armoured suit. When anything positive comes their way, it just bounces off the armoured suit. Nothing good gets in. Their automatic pilot just jestisons out anything that might be helpful. It takes a long time to take off the suit.

But there are things we can do to help. I’m talking about something simple. I’m talking about compliments. People with depression find it challenging to accept these simple gifts of positivity.  They ricochet the compliment in many ways. Sometimes with humour. Ping, redirect of the positive. Or they make excuses – “this old thing”, or “I bought it in the sales”.  These are just habits and we can change them.

When did we as a nation learn that it is rude to accept a compliment? When did we learn that it would make us appear big headed? And, most importantly, when did we learn that we aren’t worth it?

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. And today I want you to start doing something differently. Today – when you receive a compliment, do this simple thing. Say “Thank You.” It’s as easy as that. Say “Thank You”.  Saying “Thank You” begins the journey of letting positivity through the armoured suit. There is nothing as wonderful as feeling good about yourself. And getting that fuelled by others, by friends, family and colleagues – well that is nothing short of magic. And it all starts with saying “Thank You”.

OK, if you still find that challenging, there are steps you can take to make it easier. You can REFLECT a compliment. In other words compliment the giver straight back. “Thank you – for saying so”, “Thank you – for noticing.” Complimenting is not a balance sheet, but it is nice to reflect positivity.

The other way you can accept a compliment is by DEFLECTING. You can share it with others. When you receive compliment, try saying “Thank You, Susan picked out this dress.” “Thank You, Susan helped prepare the presentation”. “Thank You, Susan cut my hair.” At which point they will want to meet Susan!

Good, so you are receiving and giving compliments in a positive way. The next step is to recognise compliments when they come. Did you know that the greatest compliment someone can give you is not “You are looking well.” No the greatest compliment is when they give you their focus. When they listen to you. And this happens all the time. People talk and people listen. If you start to see this as a compliment you will start to see compliments everywhere. Focusing on the good that comes into your world is a great place to start your journey of recovery. Notice compliments. Don’t glance them off the armoured suit. Let them in, open the door to positivity with a quiet “Thank You.”

If you really want to get anal about it, you can do what I do. I write down every compliment I get. Yes. I clock them, and I write them down. In my journal, on post in notes. I sometimes put them on the fridge – a paper fridge magnet. Pure joy.

And if you really want to get lots of compliments. Start Giving them. Become a source of positivity. See the world in colour and share this with your friends and family.

Start today. Pieces of positivity are everywhere. All you have to do is Give and Receive compliments. Easy Peasy.