Little acts of kindness can really brighten someone's day and bring a smile to their face. Smiles are contagious and can be encouraged by your kindness to pass on the joy. The more smiles we can spread the more we can create a happier place in this world.
"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." - Thich Nhat Hahn.
The simple of act of smiling can be the springboard to experiencing joy. The beauty of a smile is that it is a free tool and readily available to us. There is even a national smile month (this year it is May, 18 - June, 18) and a world smile day celebrated on the first Friday of October each year.
So are you ready to turn that frown upside down and learn new ways to pass on the joy?
1. Send A Note
You could write a note of encouragement to someone who has helped you or or someone that needs encouragement. In particular if you handwrite the note this will make it special because handwritten notes are rare these days.
The effects of a simple message to say "thank you" should not be under-estimated. I have done this in the past (admittedly by text) and thanked friends for being in my life. They respond with much surprise and delight which then brings me more joy to know how much my friends appreciates my words of kindness.
2. Cook A Meal
If a friend is feeling down, in need of a break, invite him/her over for dinner. Not only will you make them feel special but it will also give them some time out and you get to spend time together catching up. It doesn't have to be a super gourmet meal and it doesn't cost much more to cook for an extra person. Food is also very comforting and your friend will more than appreciate the gesture and the company of course!
3. Make A Gift
For the past few birthdays of my close friends I have attempted to make a present, instead of buying a gift from the shops. I think this can say a great deal about the value you place on your friendship because by making a gift you are putting your heart into it. Anyone can buy a gift with money but not everyone can make a gift that is so special and original. All it takes is some time and creative thought.
4. Become A Baby-sitter For The Day Or Evening
A really good one is to offer to look after your friend or relative's kid(s) for the day (or evening). Not only will this be a nice surprise for them they will really appreciate having some time to themselves without worrying about their children, who will obviously be in very good hands. This is invaluable as, if you have been, or are, a parent, it can be difficult to get baby-sitters at short notice or without having to shell out.
5. Give An Inspirational Book
If you have found a really good book to be inspiring and insightful then share it! As well as feeling good doing it, it can change the person for the better and they will associate the book with you so will think good thoughts about you when they read it. It doesn't have to be a new book - you could give them your copy (if you're willing to part with it of course!).
Give up some time to support your local community. This could be your local church or charity. This can spread many smiles in addition to making yourself feel good for contributing to a worthy cause. Volunteering can be a happy event because usually you will be in the company of other volunteers who are there because they want to be.
7. Be Grateful
Give gratitude to everyone that has supported you throughout your day. Think of everyone you come into contact with each day - friends, relatives, co-workers, postman, shop employees, waiters - the list is endless. Even a telephone call with the gas company, by expressing your thanks for their help can do wonders for lifting their spirits and knowing they have helped you in some way. Maybe they have not helped you - even so there is no harm in thanking them for their time.
One final tip is to show a genuine smile to everyone you come into contact with. Even strangers on the street. It can make their day, especially as a genuine smile makes you more attractive. Guaranteed you will get a smile back!