As you work to create more happiness in your own life, it is important to spread happiness to those around you. Doing so not only improves the lives of others, but it improves yours as well. Doing for others is a well-known strategy for increasing your own happiness. So as you go about your day, think about these 10 simple ways you can spread happiness to those around you.
“Let us be the flowers of love and let us spread the beauty of happiness.” – Debasish Mridha
Spread Happiness Today
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1 – Always Pay It Forward
When someone does something nice for you, return the favor to someone else. If at a restaurant, for example, someone in front of you buys your meal, do the same for the person behind you. I’m sure you’ve heard this happening before where the chain of paying it forward goes on from customer to customer. One such case was at a Dairy Queen in Minnesota where the chain went on for two and a half days with 900 customers! Keep the chain going if it happens or start the chain yourself.
I try to do this as often as I can when I’m in a Starbucks line. I’ll just pick up the tab for the person behind me. If they continue to pay it forward, great! If not, at least I was able to spread happiness to the person behind me.
- Leave a gas card at a pump.
- Leave quarters at the laundromat.
- Put unused coupons next to products at the grocery store.
- Pay the toll for someone behind you.
- Leave snacks for the mail carrier.
2 – Listen
Most of the time people just need someone to listen to them. They don’t always want solutions or advice, so just be someone they can talk to. Some of the kindest, most compassionate people are also the quietest. They spread happiness just by listening to others when they are struggling. This is one of the first skills they teach in life coach training because it is the most important. You have to listen instead of trying to fix. When you ask someone how they are or if you can do anything for them, listen actively. Active listening means you pay attention to what others say, you are not distracted and you paraphrase back to them. This shows them that you really do care.
3 – Spread Happiness by Complimenting
Try to compliment as much as you can. Be careful not to sound too flattering or shallow. This only makes you come off fake or insincere which is almost as bad as giving someone useless criticism. Here are some tips when complimenting others:
- Be sincere. Really mean the compliment. If you do not think they are a hard worker, do not compliment a co-worker by telling them you admire their work ethic.
- Make it relevant. Try not to compliment others on something they do not care about. If fashion is not their thing, don’t compliment their outfit. If instead being a great mom or dad is important to them, compliment their parenting skills.
- Do not make it about you. Avoid saying things like, “You are a much better cook than I am.” This compliment brings the attention back to you. Instead say, “You really are a great cook,” and leave it at that.
Think about the people you interact with on a day-to-day basis. What do you most admire about them? What stands out to you about them? Answer these questions for everyone you know. Doing this will give you inspiration on how to compliment them. Remember compliments are sincere and should be thoughtful.
4 – Say Thank You More Often and Mean It
We are taught at a young age to say thank you when someone does something for us. Throughout life, it loses much of its meaning. Saying thank you has become more of courtesy rather than appreciation. To spread happiness say thank you more often and mean it.
Give a sincere thank you to your waiter when they bring you food. Say thank you to your kids when they do what you tell them to do and every night before bed for being a blessing. Give a big thank you to your boss for letting you out a few minutes early. People know when the thank you they receive is just customary or when you really mean it. When you really mean it, it can go a long way in making them happy. Say thank you more often and mean it.
5 – Leave Hidden Notes of Appreciation
My wife and I do this for each other at times. She’ll hide a note saying how much she appreciates and loves me and I’ll do the same. I usually stick notes in her purse or on her laptop screen. Leaving hidden notes in this way is a great way to spread happiness. Imagine how nice it would feel to open up your lunch bag at work and your spouse has a note in there saying how much they appreciate you. It would make you feel good right? It always makes me feel great no matter how bad my day is. Do the same. You can leave notes of appreciation for your spouse, your kids, or a friend. Just make sure you know the person. Leaving notes like this without an established relationship could backfire on you.
6 – Give A Small Gift To Spread Happiness
Don’t wait until the holidays to give someone a gift. Gift-giving can be as small as bringing a co-worker a cup of coffee. Do this when people least expect it. I always give my wife and kids small gifts. Most of the time they are sweet treats like candy bars, but every once in a while I’ll order something I hear them talking about. Whether it’s a new game my son has mentioned or new PJs my wife said she needed.
It is important to remember that giving gifts does not mean you have to break the bank. Set up a bath for your wife so she can spend some alone time. Give the gift of your time to your kids and throw the football around or do a craft. Just give of yourself in some way.
7 – Smile And Say Hi
Smiling and saying hi to everyone you pass is an easy way to spread happiness to others. Sure some may think you are weird but most will appreciate the gesture. A simple smile can really brighten someone’s day. Numerous studies show that smiling can lift others’ spirits as well as your own.
I know many people, however, who find it difficult to say anything to strangers. They just do not feel comfortable being social in any way. If you are like this as well, realize that smiling and saying hi does more than just spread happiness to others, it also works to improve your confidence and reduce anxiety being around others. So if that is something that is important to you, it is a low threat way to improve your social anxiety and feel better about yourself. People will also see you as more approachable, they will like you more, which will improve your personal and professional relationships.
8 – Volunteer
Volunteering creates amazing amounts of happiness, not only for you but in the people you help as well. Try to volunteer as much as you can. Go to the homeless shelter and lend a hand. Go to the soup kitchen and serve food. Help an organization pick up trash from our roads. Lending your time to do something for others is much more valuable than donating money. Here are some other ways to volunteer and spread happiness:
- Mentor kids.
- Serve senior citizens.
- Coach a team.
- Teach a free class at the community center.
- Share your talents.
9 – Spread Inspirational Quotes and Stories on Social Media
Do not become one of those people who gripe and complain every chance they get on social media. Instead, be a source of inspiration for those who come across your posts. Come up with your own messages or share them from your favorite sources. Social Media doesn’t have to be dominated by bullies and trolls. It can be a source of hope and happiness as well. If you are looking for a good place to start, start with our Facebook Page. Every day we post inspirational messages and pictures. Check them out and share them today.
10 – Seek To Be of Help To Spread Happiness
Whether you are in the office or at home, make it a habit to ask others if there is anything you can help them with. This simple gesture shows that you care and you are willing to spend your time making other people’s lives better. We all know one or two of these people. People who you know you can count on and they always make you a little bit happier every time they come around. I have a good friend Eddie, who is one of these people. Even if you do not directly ask him for help, he will help you if he knows you are struggling with something. He never asks anything in return and is more than happy to help. Be Eddie. Seek to help and spread some happiness around.
An important part of living a happier life is helping to make other people around you happier. Get started today with one of these strategies. Pay it forward, be a good listener, compliment others, say thank you more often, leave notes of appreciation, give small gifts, smile and say hi, volunteer, share inspiration on social media, seek to be of help.
What will you do today to spread happiness? Let us know in the comments below.