Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a great poet once said “Huh, because I’m happy. Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof, because I’m happy. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, because I’m happy. Clap along if you know what happiness is to you, because I’m happy. Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do…” Alright, fine. Yes, technically he didn’t say it, he sang it. Yes, that’s the chorus from Pharrell’s song ‘Happy’, but you’re lying if you don’t think he’s a poet and I will fight you on it!
Regardless, we all know that our ultimate dream (amongst all the other goals we make for ourselves) is to attain happiness. It means something different to all of us and it’s a personal journey. That being said, we can all help each other to get there. This Wednesday is the International Day of Happiness and the theme is #HappinessForAllForever. We couldn’t think of a better cause to get behind, so here are 10 ways you can spread happiness today and everyday…
Be kinder to yourself
It all begins at home, with you. I’m sure we’ve all read something along those lines in any, and all, articles or books about growing as a person and self-love. Well, there is a lot of truth to that. It’s a lot easier to spread kindness and happiness when you feel kinder and happier. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of listening to that voice in our head that puts us down and constantly narrates all our inner doubts. It’s hard to ignore, but happiness for all includes you too! Counteracting that thinking with positive thoughts or remembering times you have succeeded works wonders in silencing it.
Some of the things I’ve been telling myself as a way to be kinder to me is that everyone is on their own track/timeline and that if I’m prepared, there’s no stopping me. Try coming up with 3 affirmations to repeat to yourself to silence that inner doubter and go from there. Happiness is a day by day process.
Be there for others
One thing that has become clearer and clearer in the past few years, is that even the strongest and most confident among us need support. Someone doesn’t have to be having a specific issue for you to be there for them. Just check in, as well as support them when they open to you. Offer a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen.
For some, opening up is difficult. We’ve all been in a place where we’ve put up walls and presented an impenetrable façade that says “I’m fine”. Regularly checking in, whether you’ve noticed changes in someone’s mood or not can go a long way. This goes for those you know and strangers. Sometimes we need an impartial person to just be there too.
Small acts of kindness
This one is twofold. Firstly, you bring a little happiness into someone else’s day and that, in turn, brings some into yours. The other day, I stopped a woman’s suitcase from rolling down the tube (the met line by the way, that suitcase would’ve been rolling for days) and the gratitude on her face just brightened the day.
Sometimes it’s the small things that help. Giving someone directions, helping them with their bags at the tube station, holding the door, bringing in snacks for your co-workers, picking up a toy a child as dropped and giving it back to them. You name it. Spreading a little piece of happiness can go on to be the highlight of someone’s day. Who wouldn’t want that?
Leave someone a kind message
It doesn’t have to be a physical note (although that would make it more memorable.) Just something tangible that they can go back to as a reminder. It could be a compliment or just a show of appreciation. It doesn’t even have to be for someone you know.
In the deep, deep bowels of the YouTube comments section (hey now, we all know the comments section is where the real action is) you’ll find that some people leave comments like ‘whoever you are, hope you have a lovely day and know that you’re loved.” With so much negativity, kind words seem far and wide, so it’s always nice to find them in the most surprising of places.
Firstly, I want to say smile if you feel like it! Telling someone to smile is not the same thing. A genuine smile comes from happiness within, not some idiot acting like you owe them one. We’re all guilty of looking down and not around when we go about our days. We’re missing out on those small connections that may not be lasting, but are impactful.
So, look around. Return some smiles, if you feel like it. The other day, a toddler smiled at me and how can you not love that kind of happiness and want to bask in it too?!
Time is one thing that we can never get back. The ultimate act of spreading happiness is dedicating some of your time to someone else in some way. It’s the one thing everything on this list has in common. It’s a priceless gift.
So, take some of your time and give it to someone else who will benefit from it. Help give food at a homeless shelter. Give blood. Volunteer to be a big brother or sister. Support a cause that doesn’t even affect you and donate.
Say thank you
I don’t know about you, but I always appreciate when someone says thank you. For anything. It easy to take for granted the things that people do for us, especially if it’s their job. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve thanks. You also never know the circumstances that arose to bring them to where they are. You’re not the only one who wants to go back to sleep when your alarm goes off in the morning!
So, say thank you to your baristas, your waiters, your cabin crew, your nightclub security, that guy that held the door for you, that co-worker that showed you how to use the printer, your mum for (let’s be honest) everything and your friends for putting up with ya! Always, always say thank you. To everyone who does something for you. Non-negotiable.
Give someone a balloon
Ok, this one is very random, BUT I can honestly say that I have never been unhappy after receiving a balloon. Can’t argue with that stellar evidence. Same goes for bubbles. Somethings you just never grow out of and will continue to make you happy forever. I rest my case, I know there’s no counterargument. Next case!
Help someone with a job application/new skill
We can all agree, as a universe, that job hunting and filling out job applications is a monumental endeavour of sorrow and mental torture. It sucks. Writing hundreds of cover letters, always tailoring your CV and then filling out a form with the exact same info that’s on the CV you’ve attached? Why?! Who started this?! Why you gotta do us like this?! We just want gainful employment!…
[Please excuse the writer of this blog post as she takes a break to calm down, after being riled up by talk of the job application process. She will return momentarily. Probably after getting herself a balloon…]
Ok, I’m back! Phew! Anyway, if you can help someone in any small way with their job application, do it. Proof read their cover letter. Introduce them to people who can help them get a job. Send them job posting that are suitable. Help them learn new skills that will improve them as candidates. The thanks you’ll receive is endless. Plus, once they get a new job they can buy you food. Win-win.
Bake and share
Lastly, but not least since we were already on the topic of food, baking. Who doesn’t love baked goods? If you can bake, bring it! A lot of people will happily be your guinea pigs for testing out new recipes. You pretty much can’t go wrong, as long it has chocolate in it somewhere.
You get great feedback, they get full tummies. The cycle continues. Everyone thinks you’re a legend (because you are.) Happiness ensues!
So, there you have it. 10 ways you can spread happiness today and everyday! Now, I’m going to leave you with a genuine, wise quote about happiness; “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama XIV