January 25, 2017
It doesn’t take much to make someone smile.
Acting generously not only heightens your happiness, it also releases nearly 50 percent more of oxytocin-the feel-good chemical in your brain-and boosts creativity, resilience and problem-solving skills. My month of kindness taught me that generosity doesn’t have to be a big production. Something as small as a conversation can boost your mood and spread good vibes to those around you.
Follow my happiness challenge using the examples below. Add your own generous acts and reflect on how it changes your mood and boosts positive emotions.
1. Buy coffee for the person in line behind you.
2. Start a conversation with a stranger.
3. Make a meal for a friend who’s stressed.
4. Donate your time to a local charity.
5. Buy a hot meal for a homeless person.
6. Compliment a stranger.
7. Ask someone about their day and actively listen.
8. Call up an old friend and reconnect.
9. Bring a snack or dessert to share at the office.
10. Compliment a friend.
11. Write a letter to an extended family member.
12. Give a copy of your favorite book to a stranger.
13. Leave a handwritten thank-you note for the office cleaning staff.
14. Offer to help an overwhelmed friend or co-worker.
15. Baby-sit a friend’s children so they can have alone time or go on a date with their spouse.
16. Introduce yourself to a new co-worker. Invite him or her to lunch.
17. Sign up to read at a children’s reading hour at the library or a local bookstore.
18. Put money in a stranger’s parking meter.
19. Leave a random uplifting note on someone’s windshield.
20. Offer to keep a friend company while they run errands.
21. Leave a large tip for no reason.
22. Take your supervisor out to lunch and thank them for what they do.
23. Call your parents and have them share an old memory that makes them smile.
24. Smile at everyone you encounter for a day.
25. Reach out to your favorite childhood teacher. Thank them for their role in your life.
26. Bring coffee or lunch to someone you don’t like. Make an effort to let go of your negative feelings.
27. Donate blood.
28. Have a conversation with a friend and focus on speaking less. Say, “Tell me more.”
29. Make an anonymous donation to a local charity.
30. Drop off dessert at your local law enforcement station.
Credit: Cecilia Meis