“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart.
We know some days it may feel like hard work to put on a smile, that some days you don’t feel 100 percent, and the last thing you’re thinking about is making someone else feel their best. But we think it doesn’t have to take much to spread happiness – and there are many reasons why you should try.
💗Happiness creates happiness. If you can succeed in spreading happiness to one other person, we guarantee it will have a ripple effect, making more people happier too. Being kind and happy makes others kind and happy.
🌍You create the world you live in. By choosing to have a rosy outlook on life and sharing your positivity with those around you, you will literally create a happier world for everyone to enjoy.
👐You get what you give. By focusing on the happiness and wellbeing of others, it will also make you feel better. Basically it’s a win-win; everyone benefits!
We’ve gathered 30 of our favorite – and easiest – ways you can start practicing kindness and spreading happiness to others, little acts that you can carry out during your normal daily life, which can have a big impact. Try choosing one tip from our list that speaks to you and use it today, on someone from your inner circle – your partner, your children, friends, family, colleagues. After a while, spreading happiness will become so second nature, you’ll start doing it with acquaintances and strangers too!
#1: Leave a surprise note
Don’t underestimate the power of a quick handwritten note with encouraging or kind words. Try tucking a Post-it note with ‘Today will be a good day ;)’ inside your child’s lunch box, or our favorite: surprise your partner with a heartfelt ‘You mean the world to me’ note left inside the book they’re currently reading.
Source: Instagram @chloetcoffman
#2: Pay for the person behind you in line
There are times when an act of kindness multiplies beyond anyone’s expectation. During December last year at a Dairy Queen in Minnesota, USA, one person paid for the meal of the person behind them, and it kicked off a massive chain reaction that involved over 900 cars ‘paying it forward’ and lasted over two and a half days! Why not be the first to pay for the person behind you in line and watch the happiness spread?
#3: Be an active listener
Sometimes, all someone wants is to have a chat, and to have someone who will listen – really listen. You don’t need to give advice, try to ‘solve the problem’, or make your friend feel better. Just listen and give the other person room to vent.
#4: Give a genuine compliment
An easy way to make someone happy and boost their self esteem is to give a genuine compliment. Try noticing something that your colleague has achieved lately, or watch the way they do a task and praise them for it. Maybe a friend is trying out a new hairstyle? Tell them they look radiant today.
Source: Instagram @positivestatementco
#5: Greet strangers
Eye contact, a smile, a quick nod of the head, a brief wave. There are many ways you can greet strangers without starting a conversation – and all of them will instantly brighten their day.
#6: Make someone laugh
You don’t have to be a comedian to make someone laugh. Print off your favorite joke and tell it to your colleague, or pull a funny face in front of your neighbor’s kid when you see them next. Laughter is a surefire way to break someone’s bad mood and turn a scowl into a smile.
#7: Think positively
Just by being aware of your own negative thoughts and making the conscious effort to concentrate on the positives will make you happier. And the best part? Having a sunny disposition is contagious.
Source: Instagram @learntolivewithpurpose
#8: Use your manners
Saying please and thank you. It may sound silly, but remembering to use your manners and be polite really does make a difference to someone. Hopping off the bus? Why not thank the driver and show that you appreciate their service?
#9: Pass on your knowledge
If you have something you’re especially good at – speaking Spanish, sewing, woodworking, baking bread – why not hold an informal (and free) class and teach others what you’ve learnt? A skill-swap is an easy way to empower others, and spread happiness.
#10: Practice self-care
It may sound counter-intuitive but when you focus on your own happiness, you will make others happy too. Treat yourself to a massage, take a long bath, spend five minutes every morning journaling. When you feel good, you will naturally spread happiness and positivity to those around you.
Source: Instagram @lale.d
#11: Bake something
Who doesn’t love receiving home baked goods? Bring in warm chocolate muffins for your co-workers and see how many smiles you receive around the office!
Source: Instagram @elisabeth.buu
#12: Make a homemade gift instead of buying one
Why not make your own card with a heartfelt message inside for your friend’s next birthday? Or you could glue together a collage of images that remind you of them. A homemade gift shows you’ve really thought about the person you’re giving it to.
#13: Make a playlist for someone
Listening to music is a quick and easy way to boost your mood, so why not share the happiness and make a playlist for someone else? Just compile all your favorite songs, those ones that make you want to smile and dance, and give it to someone who you think will enjoy it.
Source: Instagram @katerina_v_s
#14: Send someone a funny meme or uplifting video
There’s a reason cat videos and silly songs are so popular – they make us smile! If you know someone is struggling, spend a couple of minutes forwarding them funny clips with an uplifting message.
Source: Instagram @pianideglialpaca
#15: Leave a funny voicemail
Ring a friend and leave them a short voicemail in a funny voice, or just tell them your favorite joke. When they listen to it we bet they will be wearing a smile on their face.
#16: Dance in public
Seeing someone groove to their car radio while waiting at the traffic lights… that energy is infectious! Why not be that person dancing in public, and make other people smile too?
Source: Instagram: @muse.unkown
#17: Make public art for someone to enjoy
Pick wildflowers and leave them on a ledge somewhere, or arrange small pebbles in a heart shape on the sidewalk as a nice surprise for a stranger. What would you create for someone to discover?
Source: Instagram @botanilly
#18: Tip generously
In a lot of countries, service workers – waiters, cafe staff, barristers – earn minimum wage. Next time you eat out, try leaving a generous tip as an extra thank you to the person who served you (without pointing it out to them) and watch their face light up as you leave.
#19: Express your gratitude
Does your partner cook you dinner every night? Then thank them for it! Maybe your flatmate put out your wet laundry while you were at work? Do something nice for them in return. Remember to express your gratitude to those who go out of their way for you. They’ll even be likely to do it again.
Source: Instagram @women_with_style
#20: Donate what you can
Donations don’t always have to be financial. Select unused clothes from your wardrobe, gather surplus blankets, or take your extra cans of food and other non-perishables, and donate them to those who will use them. Any donation, big or small, can really help someone out – and will make you both feel instantly happier.
#21: Write a letter or postcard
Everybody loves snail mail right? The next time you have a spare moment, why not write a letter or send a postcard to someone you haven’t talked to in a while, and see how they’re doing? It’s always a good idea to check in on your friends’ mental health, and what better time to start today!
Source: instagram @papierdirekt
#22: Read a book out loud
Taking the time to sit down and read a book out loud to an elderly relative can be a really touching gesture – and it will mean the world to someone with poor eyesight. Ask them if they have a favorite book or story from their childhood that they’d like to hear. An alternative idea would be to set up an audiobook for them to enjoy at their own pace.
Source: Instagram @direzione.lettura
#23: Write a positive review online
It may seem too simple, but writing a glowing review for your favorite shop or restaurant online can make a big difference to a small business. Take a look if they have a dedicated page on their website for reviews, or add one to Yelp, Google, or on Amazon (whatever applies to the business). It’s always a great idea to support your local businesses and community.
#24: Pick up trash
The next time you go to your local park or playground, try picking up a few pieces of trash. Even if there’s no one around at the same time to enjoy the clean space, it’s guaranteed that both parents and children will appreciate it the next time they visit.
#25: Give flowers
Giving someone flowers doesn’t always mean you have to buy a big, expensive bunch of roses. You could collect some wildflowers from the sidewalk (don’t pick flowers from private property, and use your discretion if they are needed for another purpose), or even make your own unique bunch from colored card or paper. Get creative with your flowers and they will be appreciated no matter what!
Source: Instagram @emily_luisa_and_me
#26: Offer manual labor
Have you noticed that your neighbor’s yard is overgrown? Maybe your aunt complained about a water leak the other day, or your colleague needs some shelves putting up. All of those little chores add up, and can make a person feel overwhelmed. Try offering a few minutes of your time to take care of that little job for them and take some weight off of their shoulders.
#27: Leave a few coins
If you have a few loose coins laying around, at the bottom of your bag, or stuffed into your pocket, put them in a nearby parking meter or leave them on the next vending machine you see. When someone comes across little random surprises like these, it can really turn a bad day around.
#28: Let someone cut in line
Whether you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, or in traffic, it takes next to nothing to let someone cut in front of you, especially if they are looking stressed or in a hurry to get somewhere. Help make someone else’s day that little bit easier and you’ll feel better too!
#29: Be welcoming
If you see someone who’s new to your school, to your place of work, or to your neighborhood, be extra welcoming to them! Being the first to reach out will make such a big difference to someone who might be feeling a bit unsure or uncomfortable – and it might even be the start of a great friendship.
#30: Plant a tree
Spreading happiness shouldn’t be limited to people – our Earth also deserves happiness and kindness! You could plant a tree in your backyard, grow some aromatic herbs on your kitchen windowsill, sprout some seeds – there are many ways to contribute to the health of our planet, and it will make all of us happier in the process.
What are your favorite ways to spread happiness every day? We’d love to hear some of the things you’ve done lately that have positively impacted those around you. Share your tips in the comments below.