I’ve been watching Oprah’s Lifeclass and one of her lessons was about spreading joy.
It’s true — doing nice things for people makes you feel better and lifts your mood. Here’s a list of small and free gestures you can make to improve someone’s day:
1. Smile: It’s simple and free! I’ve started doing this whenever I talk to someone. Sometimes it feels forced but I always do it. When ordering at the deli or walking into a building with a doorman — I smile at the person helping me. Instantly it brightens their face too.
2. Take a Flyer: If you’re a New Yorker like me — you know how annoying people can be on the street handing out coupons and flyers. I’ve embraced this irritating habit. Next time someone shoves a flyer in your face — take it. No one likes to be rejected — that person is just doing her job and you’ll make it a little easier by simply being easy going. You can throw it out on the next corner or who knows, maybe you’ll even need the information.
3. Send a Note: People don’t send cards enough these days. I’m a total stationary freak — so I appreciate all kinds of paper. Send someone a personalized, handwritten note to just say hi. It will lift that person’s spirits when they receive a happy note and not another bill in the mail! Or write a sweet message on a Post-it note and stick it to a mirror or computer monitor.
4. Listen: Sometimes people just want to be heard. I’ve learned that this will help you be an extraordinary friend. You don’t always have to have a solution — sometimes the best remedy is just hearing someone out and letting him vent.
5. Say Thank You: When someone does something nice for you — in a store or restaurant or on the street — say thank you! And really mean it. Give credit where credit is due. People like positive reinforcement for a job well done.
6. Share: Lend someone your favorite book, give away your favorite cookie recipe, e-mail a cute picture of a dog, tell a funny story or a joke. Spreading joy can be really simple — start with stuff that you like. Isn’t that how “Oprah’s Favorite Things” was born after all?